Mel facing battle to keep West Brom up, Clarke believes

Former West Bromwich Albion Head Coach Steve Clarke has said that his successor, Pepe Mel, faces a difficult challenge to keep the club in the Premier League this season, writes the Express and Star.

Clarke was sacked in December after four successive Premier League defeats, but it took the club nearly a month to appoint Mel, who has failed to win any of his first five games in charge, leaving the Baggies separated from the relegation zone only by goal difference.

The Scot believes that Mel could find it difficult to avoid the drop this season. He said: “The club didn’t have anyone in mind when they made the change because they put Keith Downing in charge and he got a good reaction.’

“He stabilised the ship and got three draws and a good home win against Newcastle. Now the club have decided to go down the foreign route and bring in Pepe Mel.

“He seems like a nice guy. I don’t know him but anyone I have spoken to at West Brom says he’s a good guy so I wish him well in his struggles for the rest of the season.

“And it will be struggles because even in recent matches you can see the team are competitive but it’s still a battle and they’re only getting draws when they should be getting wins.”

Clarke also told of his disappointment of being relieved of his duties at Albion, adding: “I knew the pressure was building but I thought I would get the Christmas period.

“It seemed a strange time to make the change because we had Hull City coming up the following week.

“Obviously the chairman decided enough was enough and he wanted to make the change and you have to respect that. It was disappointing. I felt I still had the dressing room. The players were fighting for me every day and working well in training.”

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