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Mel respects Benteke and Anichebe

PUBLISHED

00:01 29th January 2014

Boss hopes Albion striker can build on early promise like Villa counterpart

PEPE Mel admits he is a big admirer of Villa’s Christian Benteke – but his focus is on bringing the best out of Victor Anichebe.

The Baggies head coach revealed he expressed an interest in signing the Claret-and-Blues' Belgium international when he was Real Betis boss.

The two strikers are set to go head to head in tonight’s Villa Park derby (ko 7.45pm).

And, after seeing Anichebe turn the game in Albion’s favour against Everton as a half-time substitute nine days ago, he is hoping the 25-year-old hitman can build on that early promise in his reign as Hawthorns chief.

Mel said: “I actually asked Betis to buy Benteke but he was very expensive!

“Benteke is a well-known player in Spain, like Anichebe.

“They are well respected in Spain, and players that are always considered one might buy.

“In Spain we played with a system with wingers and we needed someone in the middle to put the ball in the back of the net.

“I think Benteke plays this role very well.

“Anichebe is in this mould.

“In the last game against Everton Anichebe was a really vital player for us.

“He showed me he could well be a very able player for us.”

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