sport

Mel still happy at West Brom

West Brom head coach Pepe Mel says he has no regrets about taking charge at the relegation-threatened Premier League club.

The Spaniard was appointed in January but the Baggies have yet to win under his stewardship and are now only outside the drop zone on goal difference.

Asked about what might happen if his side do not win at Swansea on Saturday, Mel said: "I understand why you have to ask the question, but I'm sure you'll understand that I don't actually know."

Mel has also had to deal with the fall-out from Nicolas Anelka's controversial 'quenelle' goal celebration, which led to the forward receiving a five-match ban.

Nonetheless, he insists he has no regrets about taking the position at the Hawthorns, adding: "No, I knew it wasn't going to be easy.

"Alongside the situation with Anelka, the injuries and, of course, the results, there is also the fact that it is a new country with a new language and culture.

"But, for me, it was an opportunity and a really exciting one. I'm a very well recognised head coach in Spain, but here I have to earn the right to be respected.

"This is what I am trying to do and the only way I know is through hard work."

Huge run of fixtures for West Brom

West Brom now face a crucial match at 14th-placed Swansea on Saturday, ahead of games against Hull, Cardiff and Norwich, and Mel added: "Of course we must win.

"It is being said that there are four important games but, for me, there is only one important thing at the moment, and that is to beat Swansea."

It has emerged that West Brom supporters are planning to take Spain flags with them to Swansea at the weekend as a show of support for Mel.

And the head coach said: "I think the supporters are extremely important.

"Players and coaches come and go but the supporters really are the heart and soul of the club.

"I can only thank them. Since I came to West Brom, they have been extremely kind to me. Indeed, everyone at the club has.

"But what I would really like to stress is that I am extremely indebted to the supporters.

"However, perhaps this isn't the best game because Swansea have eight Spanish players!"

Mel said that Steven Reid (knee), Billy Jones and Claudio Yacob (both hamstring) will be absent on Saturday, Diego Lugano and Chris Brunt (both knee) having already been ruled out.