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Mel knew about Long all along

Pepe Mel says he had already been told Shane Long was likely to leave West Brom in the January transfer window before he accepted the position of head coach.

The Baggies reluctantly accepted a bid which could be worth around 7million for the Republic of Ireland forward on Thursday.

Mel was speaking to the English media - via the aid of an interpreter - for the first time at his official unveiling - and said: "It (losing Long) is something I was told would be a possibility.

"But I'm absolutely certain there is enough in the squad, without Long, to stay in the Premier League. What's vital is my confidence is transmitted to the players, that they realise they are the stars of the show.

"I'm convinced things are going to go well here, and they (the players) are going to be a success. West Bromwich Albion have thought now, for a month, I am the best man for the job, which is important."

The Spaniard claimed his long-term aim was to guide West Brom into Europe but also revealed that, though he was working with the club's current backroom staff, he would not rule out bringing his own people in.

He added: "West Brom are keeping their existing team (and only) the future will tell whether my assistants come and join us. I'm extremely happy at the moment, everyone's working well together."

Asked as to where he thought he would be with Albion a year from now, a confident Mel pulled no punches as he said: "Fighting for places that give access to the Europa League."

More short term, and addressing Mel's position in the transfer market for the next two weeks, sporting and technical director Richard Garlick insisted the club will not be splashing the cash.

"It (the money for Long) is a lot in terms of the Premier League today, but we traditionally work on a model of topping up - short-term deals, loans, loans-with-options. I don't see that changing," said Garlick.

"We have a lot of players, good players, and Pepe is happy to work with those players. If there is a need to look to the transfer market then we will do so, but they will be loans or loans to options."

Appreciating the circumstances, Mel added: "West Brom are obviously not going to sign (Lionel) Messi, but there are players who can come here and do a good job.

"They have given me a list of players they are currently speaking to, and they're all very good players."

The former Real Betis boss was also delighted with the response of the players to his footballing philosophies in training and was counting down the days until compatriot Roberto Martinez's Everton travel to West Bromwich to take on Mel's men.

"If you're a football player or a coach the Premier League is the place to be," he said.

"For me West Bromwich Albion have very good players and I change the mentality only.

"I've told the players that in football possession of the ball is absolutely vital. You can't go through 90 minutes of football without having the ball. We need to get it back as quickly as possible.

"There are still four months to go in the season and we'll go on to have a really great future. It would be great if Albion could go on to compete in Europe in the future.

"When I arrived at Real Betis they were a second-tier team and now they have played in Europe."

Mel was also quick to highlight how important the supporters would be during his Albion reign and told the club's official website: "The supporters really are at the heart of the club. They are absolutely vital.

"Of course managers and players both come and go - but the supporters remain there.

"I hope to see the fans doing the 'Boing Boing' many times in the coming months.

"And I hope to be here at West Brom for a very long time, I'm very excited by the prospect, and everything starts this week."

Watch Mel's first match in charge against Everton on MNF on Sky Sports HD1 from 19.00 on Monday night