Friday 19 December 2014

Mel encouraged by Sunderland effort

Published 19/04/2014 | 13:42

Pepe Mel is taking heart from Sunderland's 2-2 draw at Manchester City
Pepe Mel is taking heart from Sunderland's 2-2 draw at Manchester City

West Brom boss Pepe Mel has taken great encouragement from Sunderland's draw at Manchester City ahead of Albion's trip to the Etihad Stadium - where he believes they are capable of securing a victory.

Sunderland, who went into their match against City on Wednesday lying bottom of the Barclays Premier League, sprung a major surprise by drawing 2-2 with the title-chasing hosts and almost emerged from the contest with all three points.

West Brom are very much in the thick of the relegation battle themselves, and asked ahead of their visit to Manchester on Monday if he could take heart from the Black Cats' efforts, Mel said: "Yes.

"There are two readings of that result. One would be simply that Sunderland ended up gaining a point.

"But the better interpretation from our point of view is that is that it means it is actually possible for us to go there on Monday and get a result."

It seems unlikely the result on Monday will be a West Brom win.

City's home record in the league this season shows just one defeat, one draw and 14 victories, while Albion have taken maximum points on only six occasions from 33 games.

Three of those triumphs have been secured away from home, though, with two coming in the last five matches.

And Mel added: "The only thing we are talking about is winning.

"We really haven't considered anything else - we are preparing the team to go there and win.

"The thing is, in football, anyone can beat anyone else, so we are going there looking for the victory."

As well as the two away wins, West Brom have also had two 3-3 home draws within their last five games, both of which they began by surging into an early lead and ended by conceding a stoppage-time equaliser.

Mel admitted after the latest of those encounters - against Tottenham last weekend - that his side had sat back too much after going 3-0 up inside 31 minutes, and has been speaking to his players since about maintaining their self-belief in games.

But he has also been determined to focus on the positives of the performance, and said about the City fixture: "Sincerely, I think if the players go about things in the same manner (as they did against Tottenham), I'll be extremely proud of them - if they go out to compete and to score goals.

"I'm sure that at one point our luck will change."

West Brom defender Jonas Olsson and midfielder James Morrison are doubts for Monday's match.

Olsson, who came off in the Tottenham game because of an Achilles problem, and Morrison, absent from that contest due to an ankle complaint, have both missed training this week and are being assessed over the weekend.

On-loan winger Scott Sinclair will definitely sit the fixture out as it is against his parent club.

Press Association

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