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Friday 22 August 2014

Mel demands better at home

Published 28/03/2014 | 18:02

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Pepe Mel wants West Brom to make things harder for sides visiting the Hawthorns

Manager Pepe Mel has called for West Brom to be less generous at home as the Baggies prepare to welcome fellow relegation candidates Cardiff to the Hawthorns.

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West Brom have three Premier League home wins this season - the most recent against Newcastle on New Year's Day - and one victory since Mel's January 9 appointment.

Mel, whose side lost at Hull last weekend, hopes a stronger defensive display can provide the foundations for another win against south Wales opposition after the defeat of Swansea earlier this month.

"The way we're approaching the game is to be defensively strong," Mel said on wba.co.uk.

"It's been quite a long time since West Brom have kept a clean sheet.

"We've been conceding some very early goals and that means we have to put a lot of effort in.

"In a lot of the games at home we have gone in at half-time 1-0 down and that means we need to put in extra effort.

"That's why we have highlighted the kick-off against Hull.

"If you look at the video it shows within two seconds of kick-off we lost the ball.

"You simply cannot lose the ball in the first moments of the game - it was a counter-attack and a cross, which nearly produced a goal.

"This is exactly why we are working hard to make sure this does not happen."

Mel has no doubts on his team's attacking capabilities, but winning is down to a resilient rearguard.

"We're very capable of creating scoring opportunities and we're convinced, if we don't concede, we'll be able to win the game," he added.

"It's obvious if we concede fewer goals we'll have greater opportunity because we're a team from midfield going forward that create opportunities and are successful in that."

Striker Victor Anichebe faces a fitness test on a hamstring problem.

Gareth McAuley (ankle) should feature, Morgan Amalfitano and Diego Lugano (both knee) are back in training and could play, but Claudio Yacob and Billy Jones (both hamstring) are out.

Jonas Olsson completes his two-match ban, while captain Chris Brunt (knee) remains out.

Cardiff hope winger Craig Noone could be available.

Noone failed a fitness test ahead of last weekend's 6-3 home defeat against Liverpool, and assistant manager Mark Dempsey says he will be "looked at" on Saturday morning.

City boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could decide to retain the team that started the Liverpool game, especially after an outstanding first-half display when they twice led the title-chasers through goals from Jordon Mutch (two) and Fraizer Campbell.

Cardiff have just seven games left to plot a successful survival course and avoid an immediate return to the Championship.

Even though they were beaten at home by Liverpool, there was enough quality in that performance to suggest Cardiff have a fighting chance of avoiding the drop.

"It is a massive game for both clubs," Dempsey said ahead of the Baggies clash. "The most important thing is that we concentrate on doing our job, going out there with a focus on what we need to do to get a result.

"We beat Norwich, we beat Fulham, so that gives us a little bit of impetus going into this game in that we can beat those in and around us.

"I think the most important thing is that even though the results haven't gone for us in the last four games, there is a real belief in and around the football club.

"That will take us into the game in a good place. We have every chance to go there, put on a performance and hopefully get the result at the end of the 90 minutes."

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