West Brom’s Mel disappointed with first half display

West Bromwich Albion manager Pepe Mel
West Bromwich Albion manager Pepe Mel
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WEST Bromwich Albion manager Pepe Mel spoke through an interpreter in his post-match Press conference at the Stadium of Light last night, but his body language and tone said all you needed to know.

Slumped, softly-spoken, the 51-year-old Spaniard mumbled his way awkwardly through a series of questions, eyes fixed on the table in front of him as he addressed a performance to forget from the Baggies.

His reticence was understandable.

At least he had turned up – which was more than his team did for the opening 45 minutes of a game which ended with Albion dropping to fourth bottom and, embarrassingly, still technically capable of relegation, although goal difference will make that all but impossible.

They are safe.

But the reality is that three wins in 17 is nothing to convince Baggies fans that Mel has a hell of a future at The Hawthorns.

And he knew that the display against Sunderland would only add further evidence to the suggestion that his appointment has not worked.

“I was very disappointed with the first-half performance,” he admitted.

“I really don’t know what happened with us – we simply weren’t able to match Sunderland’s intensity.

“We had to make changes in the second half because we hadn’t won any second balls in the first, and if you want to win a game you have to compete fully with the opposition.

“It was difficult – Sunderland have had a very good month and I would like to congratulate them.

“They had a lot of belief and a lot of confidence.”

“But I’m really disappointed with the team and disappointed particularly for the supporters who came such a long way to back us.”

Now West Brom go into their last game of the season with Mel knowing that a good performance full of pride is absolutely imperative against Stoke if discontent is not to fester further.

“What we need to do is to change the image of the team we are giving to people,” he said.

“We need to win games so that people go away happy and have a much more positive view for us.”

Even a former Real Madrid manager will have his work cut out achieving that – there were times against Sunderland last night when too many Baggies players looked as though there minds were already on some close-season beach.