Club News

Downing impressed after Mel meeting

Assistant boss likes sound of new head coach's plans

KEITH Downing is eager to get down to business with Pepe Mel after meeting the new Albion head coach for the first time last night.

Downing took charge of the team for the last time in his successful six-game caretaker spell for today’s 1-0 defeat at Southampton.

He now hands over the reins with the Baggies lying in 14th place in the Barclays Premier League table, three points above the bottom three – but only two adrift of the top half of the table.

And the assistant head coach is looking forward to helping Mel implement his ideas as the Spaniard gets to grips with life in England.

“I saw Pepe yesterday and he got introduced to the staff,” said Downing.

“We had a good conversation.

“He’s a warm man.

“He wants to put some good ideas across and I look forward to working with him next week.

“In fairness, when we met last night he said ‘it’s your game, I’ll watch and observe and then we’ll talk on Monday'.

“He talked about training methods and wants possession of the ball.

“He wants play from the back, progressive football.

“We’ll wait and see.

“I’m interested from a coach’s point of view because it’s Spanish football and it is new ideas.

“I’ve been in the game for a long time and it will be interesting for me to pick up some new ideas.

“His English is pretty good.

“I think he’s worked on it for the last month or so and it’s come on well.

“He’s an intelligent man.”

Downing added: “He reassured myself and Dean [Kiely] – David Oldfield was in the meeting as well – he is going to embrace the current coaching staff.

“This club has always done that. I’ve been here with Roy Hodgson and Steve Clarke and the club works to that structure.

“Mauricio Pochettino has also worked with Pepe so it was interesting to hear what his views were.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time in charge and at some point – I’m 48 – there will be an opportunity somewhere along the line.

“Now I’m committed to West Brom and I’m looking forward to working with Pepe.”