Pellegrini backs Mel to prosper

Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini has backed his West Brom counterpart Pepe Mel to be a success in English football.

Last Updated: 20/04/14 at 14:45 Post Comment

Manuel Pellegrini: Has respect for Pepe Mel

Manuel Pellegrini: Has respect for Pepe Mel

The pair know each other well, with both men having begun their Barclays Premier League careers this season after lengthy stints working in Spain.

Mel, appointed as Albion head coach in January, has made something of a slow start, which saw him fail to oversee a Baggies win until his eighth game in charge while the club continue to struggle towards the bottom end of the table.

There have been notable signs of improvement of late, though, with that victory being one of two in West Brom's last five matches, a sequence in which they have only been beaten once.

And while Mel himself has admitted he is unsure about the chances of him still being in the job next term, Pellegrini is confident the Spaniard will do well in England.

Speaking ahead of Monday's clash between City and West Brom at the Etihad Stadium, the Chilean said of Mel: "I think he is a very good manager.

"He is a manager that wants his teams to play attractive football - he always tries to make it so that his team will play with a lot of possession of the ball and make a very offensive game."

Asked if he could see Mel being successful in English football, Pellegrini replied: "Yes, of course, because I repeat - I think he is a very good manager, and he worked very well in Spain.

"I am sure that here in England when he settles, he will be a very good manager also."

In contrast to Mel, Pellegrini, brought in at City as successor to Roberto Mancini last summer, has been involved in the battle at the top end of the league this season and his side's title challenge has suffered some significant blows over the last few days.

They go into Monday's contest off the back of a 2-2 home draw with rock-bottom Sunderland, which followed a 3-2 loss at league leaders Liverpool, now nine points clear of City, albeit with the Reds having only three more games to go and Pellegrini's men five.

Reflecting on the shock Sunderland result, the 60-year-old has reiterated that relegation-threatened clubs like the Wearside outfit and 16th-placed West Brom make for particularly tricky opponents.

Mel, meanwhile, has made it clear he and his players have taken great encouragement from the Black Cats' exploits at the Etihad Stadium ahead of their own trip to the ground.

But Pellegrini has also stressed that each assignment in the Premier League is different, and is eager to see his side bounce back from the disappointment of that previous outing.

He said: "I think all the games are different.

"It would be very easy to just to focus on what has happened in other games.

"The performance in every game is very important and I hope we are going to improve our performance against West Brom."

City playmaker David Silva's ankle problem makes him a doubt for the West Brom match.

Pellegrini has revealed winger Jesus Navas has also been struggling with an ankle knock, and Monday's game will come too soon for midfielder Toure to return after his leg injury, which it was suggested earlier this week could keep him out for up to a fortnight.

Defender Matija Nastasic, out of action since February because of a knee complaint, remains unavailable.


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