Date: 23rd January 2008 at 5:03pm
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Pedro Mendes has ‘struggled’ this season in all honesty. When he has had chances he has not really taken them – on the whole – and has looked far from his best, but he was all that and more against Derby at the weekend, and Harry Redknapp – who says he had told him he had to be – has said as much with what he has told the Pompey Site: ‘Pedro played well alongside Diarra in the centre of midfield. I think they had confidence in each other and on the ball.

‘I said to Pedro before the game that we needed a performance from him and that’s what he produced.

‘He passed the ball about nicely which is what I want to see. There’s no point having four good footballers in our midfield if we don’t pass the ball about.

‘Pedro’s had a few injuries and has been a bit stop-start so he needed a couple of games under his belt.

‘But he looked back to his best against Derby’.

I am a self-confessed huge fan of Mendes’, and feel that when he is on form he is one of he best footballers in the top flight, and that is not just at Pompey.

Ever since his ‘savage attacks’ from Ben Thatcher and then Joey Barton last season he has been nowhere near the player he was and we know he is, I think we have all openly admitted this. Many say he ‘lost his bottle’ which was fair enough after what he went through, but the worry was this would not return – but the signs are it is.

We had hoped to see him get back to his best, and against Villa at Villa Park he had a fine game, but against Derby – which with respect we have to remember it was Derby – along with Lassana Diarra in the middle the pair put on a show and looked fantastic.

My thinking is that Redknapp will more than likely stick to a 5 man midfield away from home, but at home I feel when he gets the striker he wants – notice I say ‘when’ and not if! – I think he could go with a 4 man midfield.

In a 5 man midfield I think that Sulley Muntari and Diarra are virtually nailed on, Papa Bouba Diop is the man at risk and Mendes has a great chance of keeping his place… although we cannot rule out Sean Davis who has been fantastic this season, he returns from injury tonight for the reserves.

Lets hope that Mendes keeps playing well, as if he does there are few better – and this will be very much to our benefit.

PLAY UP POMPEY!

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