Taarabt has key part to play in Redknapp's rescue mission

Adel Taarabt, Queens Park Rangers. Photo: PA

Harry Redknapp has told Adel Taarabt he has a role to play in his QPR rescue mission.

The 23-year-old Morocco international was sold to QPR by Redknapp's Tottenham in August 2010 after two successful loans spells at Loftus Road.

However, the new Rangers boss has revealed he would have kept him at White Hart Lane if it had been his decision and he is happy to be reunited with him.

Newspaper reports have also linked Taarabt with a move to Manchester United, but Redknapp said: "He was alright with me, Adel. I think he has improved. His attitude is good and he has got bags of ability.

"I wouldn't have let him go, in all honesty - I said that at the time - I would have kept him at Tottenham.

"It was just he couldn't get into the side and the chairman decided if he wasn't going to play, we might as well sell him and get a big sell-on if he made a success at QPR.

"That's why I let him go. I would have kept him around because I always felt he was a player you could bring off the bench and he could change a game for you.

"But Adel is okay. He's got a part to play for us, for sure."

Taarabt played a full part in last night's 0-0 draw at Sunderland as Redknapp's reign was launched in positive fashion.

In a game of few real chances, it was the visitors who just about shaded it with home keeper Simon Mignolet having to be at his best to keep out Djibril Cisse and Jamie Mackie before the break and substitute Shaun Wright-Phillips at the death.

However, Julio Cesar did well to block Steven Fletcher's first-half shot and, after he failed to return after the break, replacement Rob Green produced a fine-one-handed save to repel the same man's goal-bound header.

Rangers will return to action on Saturday when they entertain Aston Villa, and Redknapp is hoping the home fans can recreate the kind of atmosphere that their Portsmouth counterparts did at Fratton Park during his time there.

He said: "We have got a big game on Saturday now with Villa. We have got to make Loftus Road a little bit like Portsmouth used to be.

"We made that a tough place to go. It's the same type of stadium, a small stadium, intimidating and if we can show the fans that we are going to have a real go and they get behind us, then it can be a tough place to come."

Sunderland left the pitch once again to the sound of boos from their own supporters, and manager Martin O'Neill admitted his players had to overcome the anxiety from the stands.

He said: "It's a sign of character, really, as much as anything else. You have to play the ball that you choose and not the one that the crowd want you to play.

"But ours wouldn't be the only crowd getting anxious about things."