YOUSSOUF Mulumbu has revealed how breaking down the language barrier has been a key ingredient in his formidable midfield partnership with Claudio Yacob.
Mulumbu has been drawing on the Spanish he learnt at school and honed speaking to the likes of former Portugal international Pauleta and Colombian star Mario Yepes during his time at Paris St Germain.
He has been putting those skills to good use again to communicate with Argentine ace Yacob on and off the pitch.
And Mulumbu feels the duo’s understanding will be tested to the limits tomorrow (ko 3pm) when they face a Wigan side renowned for being good in possession.
“I can speak a little Spanish so I can help Claudio,” he said.
“I speak Spanish with him on the pitch and I used to speak Spanish with Gonzalo [Jara Reyes] on the pitch.
“I started speaking Spanish at school and, when I was in Paris, I used to speak with Pauletta and Mario Yepes.
“So I can understand quite easily when Gonzalo and Claudio speak.
“But most importantly the partnership works because he is a great player and has a good understanding of the game.
“He understands football and he has learnt very quickly how West Brom play - and has made a big impact.
“He has become the main player of West Brom.
“It’s great for the team and I think our partnership is really good this year.
“Paul Scharner was good to play alongside but Claudio is one step in front of him because he has the capacity to stay in his position of holding midfield – he protects the defence – and he is the best partner I have had so far."
Mulumbu revealed the team has been working hard on how to counter the Latics’ expansive passing game.
And he believes the Baggies possess the attacking threat to gain at least a point against Roberto Martinez' side as the DR Congo goes in search of his first-ever win on Athletic soil.
“We know they have a good team, they love occupying all the pitch, the space and keep the ball well,” he added.
“We have worked in training on that.
“We know what’s coming so let’s go there and fight for fifth or fourth place.
“I think we will get a tough game.
“It’s a big challenge for us.
“I’ve never won there and our ambition is to go there and get the points.
“I think they have to fear us because we are in a great position and we are playing good football.
“I’m confident and we just need to forget every game we’ve played there before because this is a new game.
“We’ve got some great strikers – Long is there and Lukaku, Peter is in good form so we have some threat up front.
“And we go there to get a point - minimum.”
Mulumbu will come up against a familiar face in Ben Watson, who played alongside him in a successful month-long loan during Albion’s 2009/10 Championship promotion season.
And the Wigan midfielder proved his team's match winner last weekend with the only goal in their 1-0 victory at Tottenham.
“It will be nice to see how Ben has developed since the time we played together," he said.
“I think two years ago I came up against him – and he is a good player.
“Wigan always seem to be near the bottom of the table but they have really good players.
“They play really good football so we won’t go there and underestimate them.
“We respect but we don’t fear them.
“And we should be confident because we are fifth in the table.”