And Baggies boss says players owe fans one against Stoke
PEPE Mel believes he has become a better head coach during his time at The Hawthorns - and has thanked everyone associated with the club for helping him keep Albion in the Barclays Premier League.
The 17th-placed Baggies are all-but mathematically safe heading into their final game of the season against Stoke on Sunday (ko 3pm).
Even a defeat by the Potters would leave Norwich needing to beat Arsenal and overturn a 17 goal deficit on Albion to leapfrog them in the table.
But Mel is eager to finish on a high, insisting his players owe the fans after Wednesday’s disappointing 2-0 defeat at Sunderland.
“My experience here has made me a better head coach,” he said.
“Now I think Pepe Mel is a better head coach than Pepe Mel in January.
“For me the team has improved every week. There have been difficult matches but in the end we have stayed in the Premier League - and I’m proud of that.
“I’ve learnt a lot of things about how things are done differently and I know a lot more English than I did four months ago.
“Of course I’ve really had to be more than simply being a head coach.
“There have been too many issues that aren’t related to football.
“But when everything goes well, everything is fine.
“What I really want to do now is thank everyone who has helped me in my time at West Brom.
“The success really has been everyone’s success.
“And, I’m in agreement with what Chris Brunt said, for a team that finished eighth last season, we have to try and learn from these lessons so that next season won’t be as difficult.
“It has been tough work, amazing work and, in the end, good work.”
Mark Hughes’ tenth-placed City side will arrive in the Black Country with the third worst points tally on the road in England’s top-flight this term (11).
And Mel is hoping his men can make it back-to-back wins on home soil to round off the season after beating West Ham 1-0 last time out at The Hawthorns.
“I hope it’s a good game, people have an enjoyable time and the players show themselves to be good players,” he added.
“And I hope to be able to really put to one side the account we gave of ourselves at Sunderland.”