In-form Mendes can be main main for Sporting Bengal's derby hopes says boss Imrul
PUBLISHED: 14:00 07 December 2017
Sporting Bengal boss Imrul Gazi believes forward Oscar Mendes will be crucial to his side's hopes against rivals Tower Hamlets in their Essex Senior League derby this weekend.
Mendes played a key role in Bengal’s 3-1 win over east London rivals Hackney Wick last Saturday scoring twice to help his side come from behind and secure the points.
And a delighted Gazi was quick to heap praise on his striker, saying: “Oscar was brilliant; his movement to make an impact on the centre backs meant he created mayhem. The third goal was unbelievable, what a strike!”
The Sporting manager is now hoping Mendes steps up again when his side face Tower Hamlets, their co-tenants at Mile End Stadium.
However the last time the two teams met Mendes had a disastrous game, missing a penalty that ultimately cost his team the match.
“This season he had a bit of a bad patch, it was actually during the Tower Hamlets game where his form dipped,” added Gazi.
“We were 1-0 up just before half time, he missed a penalty, and they went up the other end and equalised.
“We could have gone in 2-0 up but we went in 1-1 at half time. That kind of really affected his confidence.”
The Bengal boss has faith that his forward can redress the balance, though, and secure his side a crucial win in their return meeting.
“It’s a great opportunity for Oscar to redeem himself and really put in a positive performance,” said Gazi.
“I always say if Oscar’s playing well the team tend to get a positive result.”
Mendes isn’t the only player Gazi will be relying on, however, as he is also leaning on the rest of his team to rise to the occasion and is confident they can do just that.
“They’re all East London lads; none of them come from outside the area, so they know what it means,” he added.
“I don’t need to pump them up as I know they know how big this game is.”
Bengal currently sit four places and six points below Hamlets, who are in seventh place.
Neither team are in particularly good form, though, with both having won just one of their last four, with Tower Hamlets having conceded 14 during that spell of games.