DARREN Moore is relishing his head-to-head confrontations with some of the biggest names in European football.
Since drawing against Swansea in his managerial debut, ‘Mooro’ has overcome Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United and last weekend fought back to defy Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool.
On Saturday he will pit his wits against Champions League winner Rafa Benitez at St James’ Park, where the Baggies will take on Newcastle United (ko 3pm).
And Darren says it has been a long-held “dream” to coach at the highest level.
“The first thing for me is to coach, I love coaching. I love being around the players,” he said at Friday morning’s pre-match press conference.
“Even in this caretaker role I’m still able to coach every day.
“I took the qualifications so I could be a coach at the very highest level and at the moment that’s exactly what I’m doing.
“It’s almost like I’m fulfilling a dream to work and coach at the highest level - I was able to do that as a player - and now I’m doing it as a coach.
“I enjoy what I’m doing and I enjoy coming into work every day because I get job satisfaction from what I’m doing.
“Absolutely I pinch myself when I get the opportunity to manage a team at Old Trafford, St James’ Park and against Liverpool.
“It was a dream as a nine-year-old growing up watching my first game on TV with my dad - I turned to him and said ‘I want to do that’.
“I was able to play and it’s now continued on into coaching. When I finished playing I always said I wanted to stay in and around the game.
“I took my qualifications and I’m here as a coach at this wonderful football club.
“I really enjoy - and I have done for years - coming into work every day with talented players, good staff, and a fan base that is excellent.
“Plus it’s representing a community I care a lot about.
“All the ingredients are there for me to come in each day and work with a smile.”