independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Albion: Mel fine with coach set-up

Pepe Mel's first game will be against Everton on Monday

West Brom are adamant new head coach Pepe Mel has no axe to grind with his current backroom staff at The Hawthorns.

There were suggestions Mel wanted to bring in his own team - Roberto Rios and David Gomez - from his time at Real Betis.

The Baggies made clear they were not going to ditch long-term employees Keith Downing and Dean Kiely, who performed admirably as caretakers following the sacking of Steve Clarke.

A U-turn, however, appears to have been performed as Mel will work with Downing and Kiely for the remainder of this season.

However, neither Mel nor Albion's technical and sporting director Richard Garlick would clarify what would happen beyond then.

Garlick said: "There was a discussion about how he would fit in with the structure (at the club) and how they would fit in if he wanted to bring in staff.

"That was the same process we went through with a number of candidates.

"He is more than happy with the staff he's got. He's pleasantly surprised about working with Keith and Dean and all the other staff.

"It's a similar situation we had with Roy Hodgson. He took his time, worked with the staff and found they were excellent to work with.

"We said to Pepe we would monitor the situation and if there comes a point where he feels, or the club feels, he needs support then we will look at it.

"But there is no rush. He is more than happy with the staff he's got."

Suggested to Garlick that Mel had said otherwise in an interview with a Spanish radio station, he replied: "He said he was happy with the set-up we've got.

"I don't know if it was an interpretation issue. He's delighted with the staff he's got and every confidence with the staff he's got."

As from Mel's perspective, the 50-year-old Spaniard said: "The situation is clear - the existing staff at West Brom are doing a very good job. Working together we'll be able to move forward."

But Mel, who was sacked at Betis late last year despite leading them into the Europa League after a seventh-placed finish in La Liga last season, refused to comment on what could happen this summer.

Asked about potential appointments over the close season, Mel swerved the question as he replied: "The staff are doing a very good job, they did a good job under Steve Clarke, and West Brom are in a privileged position to have these staff."

Mel, employed on an 18-month contract, takes charge of his first game on Monday with a Barclays Premier League clash against Everton at The Hawthorns.

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