Redknapp thanks Taarabt for QPR's first win

Queens Park Rangers' midfielder Adel Taarabt celebrates scoring during the English Premier League football match between Queens Park Rangers and Fulham at Loftus Road in London on December 15, 2012

Queens Park Rangers manager Harry Redknapp showered praise on match-winner Adel Taarabt after the Moroccan scored twice to give QPR their first victory of the league season against Fulham.

The London club had previously gone 16 games without a win -- the worst ever start to a Premier League campaign -- before Taarabt's second-half brace earned a 2-1 victory over Fulham at a relieved and jubilant Loftus Road.

Taarabt failed to impose himself under Redknapp during the pair's time together at Tottenham Hotspur, but the QPR manager said he never doubted the 23-year-old's ability.

"Taarabt is an amazing talent. I sold him at Tottenham, but I never wanted to do that," Redknapp said.

"He is a fantastic footballer and he has the ability to be up there with the best. I thought it was one of the all-round great individual performances.

"Everything he did was top-class. He has all the talent to be whatever he wants to be."

After inspiring QPR to promotion from the second-tier Championship in 2011, Taarabt failed to hit the heights in the Premier League last season and finished the season with just two goals to his name.

However, his brace on Saturday means the midfielder has already doubled his tally this term, and if his deflected 52nd-minute opener was slightly fortuitous, his second goal was truly memorable.

Picking the ball up just inside Fulham's half, Taarabt nutmegged Brede Hangeland and then advanced to the edge of the area before guiding a sublime shot into the bottom-left corner with the outside of his right foot.

"It is a joy to win a game after a tough five months," he said.

"The performance was brilliant from all the team and we can now start to believe in ourselves.

"The second goal was fantastic. The first one was not nice, but it was very important for the team. The second goal was all I ever wanted."

Many observers dismissed Redknapp's chances of keeping QPR in the top flight when he replaced the sacked Mark Hughes last month, but they have gone four games unbeaten since he arrived and are now only five points from safety.

Mladen Petric pulled a goal back for Fulham in the 88th minute but Redknapp felt QPR were good value for their victory.

"I cannot ask any more than they gave today (Saturday)," he said.

"(Fulham manager) Martin Jol has done a great job with them, but I thought we were much the better team. We defended for our lives and got what we deserved.

"That last four minutes -- when you see a 2-0 lead go to 2-1, you keep looking at the referee and there are not many better feelings in life when he blows that whistle."

QPR's Malaysian chairman, Tony Fernandes, attended the match in west London and said victory for his team was "the best Christmas present ever".

"I am a very relieved man," he told the Press Association.

"That is the best Christmas present ever -- three points. It was a great performance, it was awesome.

"I think Fulham only had one shot and they scored that goal. It was a great team effort. They deserved it.

"We've been threatening for a while and what a way to get the winning goal. Adel was awesome, the defence played well, and everyone put their heart into it.

"It is looking good and we're undefeated under Harry. I feel like I have won the championship."