Pepe Mel knows his future is the hottest topic in town at The Hawthorns.
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.
“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.Subscribe to our Newsletter