Pepe Mel keeps his eye on the job in hand at Albion

Pepe Mel knows his future is the hottest topic in town at The Hawthorns.

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West Bromwich Albion Manager Pepe Mel

But as Albion head for London today ahead of tomorrow’s clash with Arsenal, the Baggies boss is desperate to keep his players’ minds on events at the Emirates Stadium.

Mel’s players know the crucial meeting to decide whether the Spaniard stays in charge next season could happen at any moment once their Premier League safety is secure.

And that issue could even be settled as they travel home from the capital tomorrow if the weekend’s results go their way.

But Mel, who oversaw his first home victory as head coach against West Ham last weekend, is determined to keep his players’ minds on the job in hand.

“For now the most important thing is the next three matches,” said Mel, who confirmed his Albion contract includes a summer exit clause.

“It is ridiculous for me now to think about the future if we are then going to get three losses.

“I only want to talk about players playing against Arsenal. If we speak about the future now, that is a big mistake.

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini (right) and West Bromwich Albion manager Pepe Mel greet each other before the match
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini (right) and West Bromwich Albion manager Pepe Mel greet each other before the match

“My future is the Emirates Stadium. Sorry, but I only want to talk about Arsenal, Sunderland and Stoke City.

“I only think about the mentality of the players for tomorrow. We need an extra point. In seven or eight days more, we can speak all the time about the future.”

Mel again hinted, however, that he is keen to remain at The Hawthorns after overcoming a series of controversies behind the scenes to take the club to the brink of safety.

And the Spaniard, who insisted on answering questions in English yesterday, acknowledged his improving grasp of the language will be crucial to his prospects of future success.

“I enjoy my job at West Brom and enjoy the fans, but January and February were very difficult for me with Shane Long leaving, the Nicolas Anelka situation and more,” he said. “But the most important thing is at the end and the end might be good now.

“It is very important for me to speak English well. Three or four months ago I didn’t speak English at all.

“But, if my future is here, this four months has been a good pre-season for me.

“Of course I will be improving my English over the summer, because in one week back in Spain I forget a lot.”

In the opposition dugout tomorrow will be a man whose own future has been called into question.

And Mel believes, in the hire-and-fire world of Spanish football, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger might not have survived his lengthy spell without a trophy.

But the Spaniard has backed Arsenal’s show of faith in the Frenchman and insisted that Wenger remains one of Europe’s top coaches.

“I don’t think Arsene would have survived in Spain because Spain is different,” he said.

“Carlo Ancelotti for example, three months ago, was questioned at Real Madrid and now he is the best.

“In Spain, England and Germany it is always the same, though. The head coach leaves because of results.

“But I’m not surprised Arsene is still in a job and I agree with Arsenal. He is a very good head coach.

“He has a good philosophy and his team play very well every year.”

Albion ended a run of high-scoring matches by beating the Hammers 1-0 last weekend. But Mel believes his attacking players will need to fire to pull off a shock win tomorrow.

“I think the next match is very difficult for us to keep a clean sheet,” he said.

“We need to score goals. We need a good performance in attack and defence.

“It is very difficult to beat Arsenal, they are top-four and a big club. But I believe it is possible for us.”

Mel looks set to be without Zoltan Gera (hamstring), Liam Ridgewell (knee) and Steven Reid (calf) while Gareth McAuley (groin) was set for a fitness test today after returning to training yesterday following a two-game absence.

Comments for: "Pepe Mel keeps his eye on the job in hand at Albion"

The Real Bully Hoo.

I heard Tom Ross last night suggesting that if Pepe wants to bring in new players to change our style of play then he won't get the job because JP won't spend the money. For once I disagree with Tom because I think JP is a realist and doesn't go for short term fixes.

First and I hope it's true, I don't believe he would have gone to the expense of bringing somebody in and then sacking them when they have actually achieved (if this happens) what they were brought in for.

Second I think JP will recognise that whoever the manager is we will need a lot of new blood next season and PM would have the advantage of knowing the Spanish market which is very much the value for money place at the moment. I think JP will make as much cash available as he safely can this summer and at the same time I think he'll spend the summer telling everybody how poor we are, which should keep the moaners happy.

Third I think that of the managers available Moyes is probably the only one who would guarantee to be a success and IF he would come to us and then IF he did well, he would like as not be off again.

Fourth and probably least important to JP is that most of the fans like him as do the players seem to.

Jack the Hat

I agree with Pepe all but one point, more of that later. We need full commitment from all the team if we are to gain even a point the Emirates. Pepe is in no way to blame for any of this seasons plagues, the one who thinks differently, ( As a Dingle would say ) let him chuck the fust brick, at any away coach. Now to the point I disagree with, I'm already celebrating our top flight stay.

BOING~~~~BOING~~~~J♣H.

Cyril

A first rate interview. Take a bow the unsigned one.

bob.williamsfindlay

Agree, Cyril. It makes a change to have a factual interview without added unnecessary barbed comments tossed around. One thing that has emerged which seems to have gone largely unnoticed is, that in the final analysis, Pepe is pragmatic. He has his opinions and desired approach, but the focus is on securing survival and he's prepared to bend to achieve results. Steve was unable to do that and it cost him his job.

capehill

im sure PM will stay, and as TRBH says im sure JP will make some funding available. Its ok saying JP is tight etc ( of which I have openly said before) but would he be silly not to, it is his business and he wouldn't want to see it go down the pan would he? Im sure he wants a successful business. I reckon next season PM will work wonders as he would have a pre season, and some say in the players in and out. Boing boing

AndyL

Cape hill

Whilst I totally agree with your thoughts that JP surely wants a successful business unfortunately that was my sentiment at the start of the season and let's be honest compared to last season it's been a disaster from start to finish and thankfully at the moment barring another freak result at Chelsea tomorrow we will be safe.

When you look this time last year Everton were the team above us, they have built on that and have enjoyed a great season unfortunately in stead of building we have gone backwards.

I certainly believe that PM has to be allowed to bring in his own staff and create his own squad but unfortunately I don't see JP allowing this to happen and I think if PM stays and has to havethe same staff and squad then by Christmas he will be gone.

I really hope this season JP will have realised we can't compete at this level with low investment I realise that we are not in the position of the big clubs to invest silly money but I really would like us to be far more ambitious this summer in the transfer market throwing a little more caution to the wind, but I'm not holding my breath.

Cyril

I think we would have vanished without trace, (in spite of her beauty), had JP not made the change he did. Pepe may yet be allowed to bring in another coach, but it's not the fault of our resident 2 coaches that this season went pear-shaped. We had to suffer TWO egos on a scale few clubs would tolerate in Odem and Anelka, with a blossoming youngster eager to copy them. A few very good players became poor reserves, some older players have gone past their sell-buy date. A lot to cope with and we still should stay in one piece thanks to Mel.

The changes will have to occur and would have done anyway. If Mel agrees to lead us within the monetary confines JP will set, I still believe we shall progress next season.

capehill

AndyL and Cyrille I agree with you both, however if he doesn't get his backroom staff, a say in players, ins and outs, a transfer budget( not silly money) then there will be no point , as Andy has pointed out , I agree we could be gone by Christmas. The club should now back or sack him .Boing boing