HARRY REDKNAPP found defeat hard to take after QPR led before finding themselves on the wrong end of a five-goal contest at Aston Villa.
Goals from Jermaine Jenas and Andros Townsend looked like preserving at least a point for Rangers before Christian Benteke’s 81st minute winner dealt the R’s survival hopes a crushing blow.
Redknapp admitted the result was harsh on his troops, who came away empty-handed despite creating a host of opportunities at Villa Park.
“It’s one of those days,” the R’s boss told www.qpr.co.uk. “What can you do?”
“I’m upset for the lads, I thought they played well today.
“We’ve not lost through a lack of effort.”
Jenas’ opener handed Rangers a deserved lead against their relegation rivals, who had goalkeeper Brad Guzan to thank for keeping the scores respectable with a string of fine saves.
The R’s were made to pay as Gabriel Agbonlahor’s stoppage-time equaliser - moments after Jose Bosingwa's free-kick struck a Villa post - swung the encounter decisively back in the hosts' favour.
“We were fantastic in the first half,” Redknapp added. “It was so one-sided it was unbelievable."
"We should have been ahead [at half-time], we needed that second goal.
“I wanted to come in 1-0 up, even though it could have been more.
“Instead they’ve suddenly got a lift after being awful. They probably couldn’t believe their luck.
“We threw it away from where we were.”
Saturday's defeat leaves Rangers seven points behind Paul Lambert’s men, who occupy the first place above the bottom three.
Redknapp knows the odds are stacked against the R's to beat the drop but, with 24 points still up for grabs, remains hopeful there is still enough time to turn things around.
He admitted: “It’s a setback but we can’t go feeling sorry for ourselves. We’ve got to keep going.”
“There are still games to go. If we keep playing well we can still win four of five games.
“It’s going to be hard but not impossible. I’ve not given up.”