December 27, 2014

Even Christmas spirit couldn't save Neil Warnock.

The Crystal Palace manager was sacked after his side's 3-1 Boxing Day defeat to Southampton, bringing to an end a four-month spell at the helm that brought just three league wins.

The defeat to Saints means that Palace slipped into the relegation zone having won only once in their last 12 league games, losing seven and drawing four. Even though the Boxing Day reverse drew the ire of the vocal crowd at Selhurst Park, Warnock remained civil to the fans in what proved to be his last press-conference.

"I think with all fans - at 3-0 down - you'll be surprised not to get a bit of stick," Warnock said. "I thought they were very good today all things considered."

The reason that Warnock was in charge of Palace in the first place was because of Tony Pulis' shock resignation on the eve of the opening day of the season - a decision that was rumoured to have been prompted by a lack of intent from the club in the transfer market. And prior to his sacking, Warnock admitted that the squad needs strengthening in the upcoming January window.

"You've got to keep going; you've got that many games coming up quickly," he said. "We need one or two additions, we all know that.

"We missed (Marouane) Chamakh today. We hadn't really got a physical presence up there but we've got what we've got so we've got to muck in and get on with it and try to compete at a difficult place."

Sunday will see manager-less Palace travel to Loftus Road to face Queens Park Rangers for a game that might not be the most celebrated London derby but is certainly a pivotal clash in the battle for Premier League survival.

The search for a first away point of the season continues for Rangers (5-2-11) after they lost 2-1 against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.

QPR went down despite playing the final 37 minutes with a man advantage after Olivier Giroud saw red for head-butting Nedum Onuoha.

Charlie Austin gave the Hoops hope of an unlikely comeback with a late penalty after Alexis Sanchez and Tomas Rosicky had fired the Gunners ahead but Harry Redknapp's side fell short despite a late penalty claim when Bobby Zamora went down under pressure from Kieran Gibbs.

"It wasn't until we got back to 2-1 that we started to take the game to them," Redknapp said in his post-match conference. "I felt we weren't positive enough at 1-0 down against ten men and for them to score was the worst possible.

"We needed that 20 or 30 minutes, whatever was left, to make sure we worked the ball well and created some chances to score and to go two down was a massive blow."

Redknapp was left bewildered by referee Martin Atkinson's decision not to penalize Gibbs, having earlier awarded two other penalties in the game, the first missed by Arsenal's Sanchez.

"It was a penalty for sure," said Redknapp. "There was no doubt about it."

QPR are unbeaten in their last six meetings with Palace, all in the Championship, winning three and drawing three.

The sides' last meeting in March 2011 resulted in a 2-1 win for QPR in which Heidar Helgusson scored a double. James Vaughan responded for Palace.

Crystal Palace are unbeaten in their last four Premier League era meetings with QPR in the top flight, winning both matches at Loftus Road and drawing the other two at Selhurst Park.

Iain Dowie scored the winner for Palace with the only goal of the game the last time the sides met on Premier League duty in April 1995.

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