On this day: Portsmouth boss forgives Benjani for West Ham penalty miss 

Benjani Mwaruwari. Picture: Barry Zee
Benjani Mwaruwari. Picture: Barry Zee
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On this day in 2007, Harry Redknapp backed Benjani Mwaruwari to bounce back from his penalty misery.

And the Blues boss was convinced his leading scorer would be the toast of Fratton Park once again by burying Blackburn that night.

Benjani swiftly became the villain of the peace following his West Ham spot kick.

He had the chance to clinch Pompey all three points but his effort was kept out by Hammers keeper Rob Green.

It wasn’t just fans’ fury which greeted Benjani’s miss, Redknapp provided his own fiery blast in the confines of the dressing room in the aftermath.

Yet the seven-goal striker would once again lead the attack in the Carling Cup clash against Rovers.

Pompey would field an almost full-strength side for the visit of Mark Hughes’ men with a quarter-final spot at stake.

And Redknapp insisted Benjani remained in the right frame of mind to help his men succeed.

He told the News: ‘Benji’s not the first player to miss a penalty and won’t be the last.

‘I’m not going to hold that against him forever.

‘I say what I feel and I said plenty to him in the dressing room after that match. He has to accept that.

‘I was angry with him not because he missed, that can happen to footballers.

‘It was because he wasn’t supposed to take it in the first place.

‘It was not his job. That’s all in the past now and he’s put it behind him.

‘I put it behind me as well, now we’re looking at Blackburn and I’m sure he’ll keep on playing well.

‘He’s still full of confidence you know, just because he missed a penalty doesn’t mean that’s it and he’s given up and gone home.

‘Benji was back in training on Monday morning looking confident and sharp, like he has done all season.

‘I may have said " please Benji don’t take another penalty", but that’s it.

‘He’s been absolutely brilliant for us since he came here.

‘I love Benji. He’s been fantastic for us, absolutely fantastic, and he’ll again be involved against Blackburn.

‘Hopefully he can score the goals that can take us into the next round, he deserves it for sure.’