Portsmouth 2 Manchester City 1: Mendes' dream goals promise Redknapp more sleepless nights

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The Independent Online

Pedro Mendes has urged his team-mates to show fighting spirit for the rest of the season after providing Portsmouth with a reminder of what is needed if they are to escape relegation.

The 27-year-old's spectacular brace against Manchester City, both volleys which gave goalkeeper David James no chance, kept Pompey within reach of West Brom and Birmingham above them.

Boss Harry Redknapp guided the club to safety two years ago with a late flourish that saw Pompey finish 13th thanks to the goals of Aiyegbeni Yakubu, who has since moved to Middlesbrough.

"Pedro scored two terrific goals and he was magnificent for us, superb," Redknapp said.

"And what he has done is help remind us of what happened two years ago when we picked up 22 points from the last 10 games and moved up from 18th to finish mid-table in our first Premiership season.

"We can do something similar again. And we won't give it up. All we need is for the team to keep fighting on the pitch and to make things go our way for a change."

Five of Pompey's remaining nine fixtures are at home, which could give them the edge over their relegation rivals.

"We've got West Ham at Upton Park next and three more points there will set us up nicely," said Redknapp.

"It is a crunch game but then again all the games left are going to be like cup finals. If we had lost against City I think our relegation fight would have been all over, but now we have a big chance of staying in there. It keeps us going."

Richard Dunne had levelled after Mendes' opener, with the Champions League winner snatching the points with a dramatic strike in injury time.

Mendes said: "I feel fine for helping my team win and next week we must have the same fighting spirit as in this game.

"The manager has wanted me to play deep since I came from Tottenham with Sean Davis and Noe Pamarot in January and that is what I do because I do what I'm told.

"But I like scoring goals and every player loves to get spectacular ones in matches."

Redknapp goes back to West Ham next Saturday for the first time since he left the club in 2001 after a row over transfer policy.

City boss Stuart Pearce, who starred for Redknapp and West Ham at the age of 39, admitted: "I could see us getting something, maybe a point, in the last 10 minutes at Portsmouth, but then we lost our shape a touch and they put in two great strikes.

"I like Harry and he's picked up three critical points but when I shook hands with him at the end I felt sick. I never ever want anybody to get an easy ride from my team, but we lacked a bit of cuteness, a cutting edge."

Pearce wants his side's away form to continue, adding: "We have not backed up our home form with an away victory and it is something we have to address.

"Portsmouth have to be a bit the same. They need to win matches on the road. I want Harry to escape but I think they have got it all to do to be honest with you.

"Historically they are difficult at home but I went to see them lose at Villa last Saturday and they were poor there."

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