SHEFFIELD United issued a warning to Tottenham yesterday after underlining their giant-killing credentials by dumping QPR out of the FA Cup – their fifth top-flight scalp in the last 12 months.
The League One side’s top scorer Marc McNulty put them in front after 36 minutes and midfielder Jamal Campbell-Rice completed the third-round victory with two goals at either end of the second half.
Defeat continued QPR’s dismal record in the competition, having won just twice in 14 seasons and been eliminated at this stage 46 times in the last 70 years.
It also reaffirmed the cup threat posed by United to top-flight opponents, having seen off Fulham and Aston Villa last term on a run to the FA Cup semi-finals.
Nigel Clough’s upset specialists meet Tottenham later this month in the last four of the Capital One Cup, and first-team coach Chris Morgan warned that they should not be underestimated.
“The Premier League clubs would want to avoid each other, it’s just the nature of the beast, but I don’t think people will take us lightly, because of the results we’ve had,” said Morgan.
“In the last calendar year we’ve beaten five Premier League clubs. The semi-final will be different in that it’s over two legs. But with the atmosphere and the type of performance we can get at home, we know if we’re still in the tie when we get back to Bramall Lane then there will be a game on.
“We had a great run last year getting to the semi-final, and this year we’ve backed that up with some really good performances.”
QPR manager Harry Redknapp blamed fatigue from a packed festive schedule for a lacklustre display from a team who have pinned their Premier League survival hopes on their strong home form.
“They looked sharper than us all over the pitch,” he said. “They were brighter and better than us and looked like a team that had 10 days without playing a game; we were playing our fourth and looked lethargic. We looked sluggish today.
“They thoroughly deserved their win. They played well and you’ve got to give them the credit. Look at their record: they got to the semi-finals last year and this year are in the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup.”
QPR have taken 19 points from 33 at home in the league this term but, despite fielding a strong, they fell behind when McNulty finished a clinical counter-attack by slotting past goalkeeper Alex McCarthy. Campbell-Rice poked in the second during a goalmouth scramble just after half-time and added a third late on.