PEPE Mel will take control of West Brom for the first time against high-flying Everton next Monday – a match striker Matej Vydra has highlighted as vital to their survival hopes.
After 26 days of negotiations, the man who led Real Betis to seventh in the Primera Division last season was named Steve Clarke's successor on Thursday.
The Spaniard watched from the stands at Southampton on Saturday, when Adam Lallana's strike resulted in a 1-0 loss that ended a four-match unbeaten league streak under caretaker Keith Downing.
Mel will have been impressed by the organisation, if not the creative flair, Albion displayed at St Mary's, but will be aware of the importance of beating Everton in his first match.
The Baggies lie just three points off the relegation zone and frontman Vydra has highlighted the importance of hitting the ground running at The Hawthorns.
"We lost so we don't have any points," he said. "We need to win the next game against Everton."
Vydra came on as a late substitute against Southampton – his ninth league appearance from the bench this term.
BELLAMY TO DRIVE CARDIFF
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes fit-again Craig Bellamy can have a big impact on Cardiff's battle against relegation.
The 34-year-old striker made his first appearance for two months as a substitute in the Bluebirds' 2-0 home defeat against West Ham on Saturday.
The result saw the Hammers move out of the relegation zone at the expense of the Welsh club and Solskjaer admitted he was surprised by a flat first-half.
"He can make a big difference for the fans and the team," said Solskjaer. "You could hear how much the fans want him in the team, and I want him in my team as he is a player who has had the experience of playing in the Premier League at the top and the bottom."