PEPE Mel was left ruing Albion’s early defensive errors in tonight’s 3-1 defeat at Manchester City – but has quickly turned his attentions to the importance of Saturday’s clash with West Ham (ko 3pm).
Manuel Pellegrini’s title-chasers eased into a two-goal lead after just ten minutes, with Pablo Zabaleta and Sergio Aguero strikes sandwiching Matej Vydra’s effort that was harshly disallowed for off-side against Billy Jones.
Graham Dorrans’ goal-of-the-season contender gave the visitors a lifeline on 16 but Martin Demichelis struck nine minutes before half-time to make 3-1, which is how it stayed.
The Etihad Stadium reverse leaves the 16th-placed Baggies three points above the drop zone with four matches to play and a game in hand on three of the four teams below them.
And Mel has called on the Albion fans to get the Hawthorns rocking for what he has labelled the club’s most important game of the season against the 12th-placed Hammers.
“Tonight it really was a very difficult game for us,” he said.
“The fact we conceded in the third minute and by the tenth minute we were 2-0 down.
“We had to therefore change everything we’d been working on during the week.
“But from then the team really did go on and do very well.
“Now we have to look forward to Saturday’s game, which is an absolutely vital game.
“It really is the most important game.
“It can be the game that can spur us on and give us that life.
“I hope the stadium will be full and the fans will be with us, they can really help us in this game.
“The most important thing is to have a positive attitude.
“This game really is a final for us.”
And on Vydra’s disallowed effort Mel added: “We’ve seen the images on the television and it really was very tight.
“Every time there is a tight decision it seems to go against us.”