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Mel: Change did the trick

PUBLISHED

19:06 22nd February 2014

And Baggies boss insists only Stekelenburg denied them more than a point

PEPE Mel was delighted a half-time change in formation delivered a deserved point in today’s 1-1 draw with Fulham – and insisted only the performance of Cottagers goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg denied Albion the win.


The hosts found themselves 1-0 down at the break for the fourth successive home game following Ashkan Dejagah’s 28th-minute opener.


But a switch from 4-4-2 to 4-3-3 with the introduction of Zoltan Gera for Thievy at the interval saw the Baggies boss the second half.


Super-sub Matej Vydra repeated the last-gasp heroics he showed in December’s 1-1 stalemate with Hull by notching an 86th-minute equaliser.


And Dutch international Stekelenburg made impressive saves from James Morrison and twice from Chris Brunt to deny the Baggies all three points.


“Before the match in my head only three points is possible,” said Mel, whose side moved up to 16th and a point clear of the drop zone before Sunday’s games.


“We should have more points.


“But in the first half my team is too open and it is a problem.


“At half-time I spoke with the players and changed the system from 4-4-2 to 4-3-3.


“This was better for us.


“But I’m pleased with the players.


“One point is one point.


“It’s an important point and an important point because for 86 minutes it was 1-0.


“I think West Brom had a lot of chances to win this match.


“And the best player was Fulham’s goalkeeper.”


Mel is still searching for his first victory as Baggies boss after six games.


But he believes the signs from his players are positive, with 11 matches remaining.


“There are three long months for us to get wins and avoid relegation,” he added.


“We need to work on the pitch for 90 minutes.


“We just need to win for the day-to-day, to keep the players smiling and right in the head.


“Also to produce good work - and for the fans too.


“I am head coach and in my work I need to win.


“But the most important thing for me is my players - and they have a good mentality.


“In the second half they showed well-learned football and we had a lot of chances to win – this is the way forward.”

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