And boss insists Baggies are going out for win against Black Cats
PEPE Mel believes it is mission accomplished for him after all-but mathematically securing Albion’s top-flight safety – but he insists the Baggies are targeting a win at Sunderland tonight.
And the Hawthorns boss says it is only right for his team to give 100 per cent in the Stadium of Light encounter to maintain the integrity of the Barclays Premier League.
Three points and a +19 goal difference separates 16th-placed Albion from third-from-bottom Norwich, who have one game left.
But the Black Cats are sandwiched in between, just two points better off than the Canaries with two games remaining, including tonight’s clash (ko 7.45pm).
“We’ve had a lot of hard work through the entire season,” said Mel.
“We’ve had many problems and obstacles to overcome.
“Having two games in hand, having certified our safety, I think means we have done very well.
“I think we’ve had a long way to come and we’ve actually come all that way.
“We’ve drawn against Everton, Chelsea and Liverpool; we’ve won against West Ham, Norwich and Swansea.
“Those victories show we’ve come a long way.
“We’ve had a lot of difficult situations we’ve had to resolve and in spite of that we’ve still had a very good month of April.
“I’m very proud of my entire team but especially of certain players like Dorrans, Berahino and Dawson because they’ve been outstanding.
“The story has ended well and now the club needs to start looking to the future and planning for the future.”
He added: “I think tonight is going to be a massively important game because, most of all, we want to show our respect towards this competition, towards this league, towards ourselves as a football club, towards Sunderland and also to Norwich.
“Our only focus is to win this game.
“Sunderland’s recent form was completely unexpected. No-one thought that Sunderland would be able to do what they are doing.
“But they have shown they have great mental strength.
“I think they fully deserve to stop up - but we’re going to go out to win.”