Taarabt hits back at Redknapp claims

Adel Taarabt has issued a strong defence of his professionalism after QPR manager Harry Redknapp suggested the midfielder was overweight.

Taarabt came in for criticism following QPR's 3-2 defeat to Liverpool on Sunday when Redknapp was asked to explain the Moroccan's absence.

An irate Redknapp said of Taarabt: "He's not fit to play football, unfortunately. He played in a reserve team game the other day, and I could have run about more than he did.

"So no, I can't pick him. I can't keep protecting people who don't want to run about and train, who are about three stone overweight."

However, Taarabt says there is no truth in the suggestion he has gained weight, instead suggesting Redknapp is looking to turn QPR's fans against him.

In an interview with the Daily Mail, Taarabt questioned Redknapp's training methods and said: "I am a professional - this is not about retaliation, this is about protecting my reputation.

"I played in that reserve game for 90 minutes and if he didn't think I was running he could have taken me off. Maybe I didn't perform like I could because it was a reserve team game and I was protecting myself.

"After [a 2-0 loss to] West Ham [prior to the international break] he said all of the team is not fit. After Liverpool, because the performance was so good, he said everything was perfect - what, in one week, he changed the fitness? Impossible.

"The training sessions aren't the same standard as [Taarabt's former club] Milan, or what I would expect under another manager. They are not as intense, the players aren't as motivated. It is the same as we used to do at Tottenham years ago.

"I just think that obviously at QPR the fans love me, I love QPR and I love the fans. They are my club. You can't break the relationship with me and the fans. He [Redknapp] wants to get the fans against me.

"I don't like the food at the training ground but eat healthily like every other player. Simple.

"My heaviest weight at Milan was 86kg, my lightest 84kg - now I'm 85kg. It's not true to say I'm not fit. He tried to give an excuse.

"I was desperate to play before the game [against Liverpool]. I was fuming when I didn't play. I love football, I go crazy when I don't play. Why did he talk about someone not involved in that game?

"The journalist was doing his job and asking if I was injured. He should have said 'when he is fit he will play'. He is not 30 or 35. He is an experienced manager and he should have controlled that situation."

Taarabt claims Les Ferdinand, recently appointed as QPR's head of football operations, and coach Glenn Hoddle believe in his talent.

He added: "I spoke with Les Ferdinand and he told me 'what a player you are - you should be in the team every time. I followed you at Milan and you were fantastic'.

"Les doesn't speak to us in training but he watches us and then goes to watch the kids as well. He knows me from my days at Tottenham so we have a good relationship.

"The coaches don't have any influence on Harry - none. They are there just to be there. Glenn Hoddle loves me but I don't know if Harry listens to him."