New head coach happy with first game in charge
PEPE Mel hailed his players for providing him with a ‘beautiful’ end to his first-ever Barclays Premier League game as Albion came from behind to draw 1-1 with high-flying Everton.
The new head coach received a rousing reception from the home fans as he fulfilled his dream of coaching in England’s top flight.
And he watched his men fall behind to Kevin Mirallas’ 41st-minute opener before Diego Lugano earned a precious point with a leveller – his first Baggies goal - 15 minutes from time.
“It was a good night,” said Mel.
“The fans were very, very kind to me and today was a dream for me.
“It was a long day for me working since 8am to get ready for the game - but the end is beautiful.
“I think the result really is a very fair one.
“In the first half we were too open and in the second half we were compact and better.
“In the first half we made a lot of errors, which could have really cost us the game.
“Thankfully we were able to talk about them at half-time and correct the issues.
“The second half was very important for me.
“It is a very good first step.
“Everton are a very good team so for us to have 50 per cent possession is very good.
“I need to work very hard but I am very happy with my players because they want to play and work.
“But everyone who works for the club goes away from here tonight thinking we’ve done a good job.”
The new Baggies boss described Lugano’s finish as like a No.9’s and hailed the performance of man of the match James Morrison, who supplied the cross for the goal.
And he also explained his thinking behind the game-changing substitution he made at half-time by bringing Victor Anichebe on for Matej Vydra.
“We were too open in the first half and I needed the long play,” he added.
“For long play Anichebe is better.
“Diego’s header was like a striker’s goal – he should be a No.9!
“James was man of the match and is a very, very good player.
“I think his future is bright.”