And striker looking forward to working with Mel
SHANE Long is gutted he could not help rescue a point in front of new head coach Pepe Mel as the Baggies fell to a 1-0 defeat at Southampton this afternoon.
The Ireland international striker was denied an 89th-minute equaliser when his close-range effort was saved by Artur Boruc from Liam Ridgewell’s low cross.
Mel watched from the stands as assistant head coach Keith Downing oversaw his final game as caretaker – with the Spaniard set to take charge of his first coaching session on Tuesday.
And Long is disappointed he was unable to grab Albion a late point – but insists he did not do too much wrong.
“I thought it was in,” said Long.
“It’s one of them where if it hits my studs it might go through his legs.
“Sometimes keepers pull off great saves.
“He threw himself and made himself big.
“I think it came off his toe in the end.
“It’s frustrating because I don’t think I did a whole lot wrong.
“On another day that would have hit the back of the net.
“A goal would have been nice but three points would have been even better.
“We can take some positives from today but fair play to Southampton, they deserved the three points.”
Mel met with Albion’s coaching staff last night and Long is looking forward to meeting the former Real Betis coach.
“The staff have all met him but I think he wanted to stay away and let Keith [Downing] and Dean [Kiely] look after today,” added Long.
“We’ll meet him on Tuesday when we’re back in training.
“We’ve heard good stories about him.
“I’ve heard he plays attacking football and as a striker that’s always good to hear.
“It will be interesting to see how we adapt our football to his style of play and hopefully it will be a step in the right direction.”
Long also praised Downing and his staff for the job they have done over the past six games.
“We’re disappointed not to have got something in Keith’s last game as caretaker.
“For the last 20 minutes of the game I thought we played very well and caused them problems.
“It’s frustrating to come away from the game without a point.
“Keith and Deano are liked in the dressing room and it would have been nice to sign off on their period in charge in style.
“It’s not an easy job to do but they’ve done really well."
“Hopefully now we have a new head coach we will pick up plenty of points between now and the end of the season.”