West Brom boss Pepe Mel hails a massive step forward after beating Norwich City
©Focus Images Limited www.focus-images.co.uk +447814 482222
West Brom’s vital Premier League win at Norwich City was the perfect Premier League tonic for Pepe Mel.
The Spanish boss has had his fair share of off-field distractions since replacing Steve Clarke, but Morgan Amalfitano’s 16th minute strike provided some respite in Albion’s own survival quest.
“The players are very happy, they have all hugged together - and that is the best medicine,” he said, speaking through his interpreter. “They worked really well for the 90 minutes and could have scored additional goals. I’m very proud of them. It was a very important win for us. I think these three points really move us closer towards the end and really make our route to our final objective a lot easier. We need to continue fighting as the Premier League table changes week to week. It is very important scoring lots of goals but so is making sure we don’t concede – and we need to be pragmatic.”
Mel utilised both James Morrison and Saido Berahino at Carrow Road after a build up dominated by their dressing room flashpoint following the previous weekend’s stoppage time draw against the Bluebirds.
The Baggies’ boss has also had to deal with the fallout from Nicolas Anelka’s departure, but Mel insists there are no splits in his squad.
“A team that has displayed discipline on the pitch and has played as they did here - well and together - demonstrates that there is a good spirit in the camp and that we are a family,” he said. “I think the players have shown exactly what they want and how to go about achieving it.
“Both Saido and James, plus all the players, have just shown how important they are for us. Every week is like this, if it’s not the Anelka incident, or when a player has said something or with the Saido incident. You are always having to deal with something.”
Albion moved above Norwich on goal difference after drawing level on 32 points and Mel is targeting another two wins to clinch survival.
“It is a different country for me and a different objective but I said when I took over I would do what was asked of me,” he said. “I will be happy on May 12 when West Brom have stayed up. What we can’t do is go into that final game against Stoke needing three points to stay up. Last season it was 36 points but I think this season we will need 38. We’re only looking upwards. We are looking to climb places. As professionals this is our obligation and this month is very important for us.”