Mel does homework ahead of derby

Last Updated: Tue, 28 Jan 2014 15:51
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West Brom head coach Pepe Mel has been studying Aston Villa closely ahead of Wednesday's derby clash between the two midlands clubs.

The Premier League contest at Villa Park will be only the second match in charge of Albion for Mel, who is in is his first job in English football.

But he has wasted no time in preparing for what he describes as "a big game", taking in Villa's 2-1 home loss to Arsenal - played four days after his January 9 appointment - and 2-2 draw at Liverpool that followed, as well as watching back their meeting earlier this season with the Baggies, which also finished 2-2.

Asked how much he had seen of Villa and where he felt they could cause his team trouble, Mel said: "I watched their last two games, at Villa Park and Anfield.

"They are a very good team on the counter-attack, but they are also good playing it long and winning the second ball with (striker) Christian Benteke.

"My players know this and we have worked hard on stopping these things.

"On my day off (on Sunday) I watched the last game, the 2-2 draw at The Hawthorns.

"It was a good match, but it is important for us to get three points this time."

Certainly, it would be a major early boost for Mel's tenure if he could guide West Brom to victory over their local rivals, and the Spaniard said: "It is a big game for us - the fans, the players, the club.

"We need to win. The only thing is to win."

West Brom captain Chris Brunt has given an insight into what life has been like for him and his team-mates under the new boss.

"It's been good so far and the first game was different to what we're used to," said Brunt on the club's official website wba.co.uk.

"We've been doing a lot of different stuff in training.

"Each coach has their own principles and the new gaffer likes to push high up the field when we haven't got the ball.

"That's going to take some getting used to because it is different to what we've been doing over the last couple of years.

"We're buying into the new philosophy.

"It was a good start for us against Everton and we're hoping to build on that."

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