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The FA Cup Fourth Round

Mel wants stronger defence

Manager Pepe Mel has called for West Brom to show their defensive mettle as they prepare to face Cardiff City at the Hawthorns.

Last Updated: 29/03/14 at 15:46 Post Comment

Pepe Mel: West Brom manager has called for his side to show their defensive mett

Pepe Mel: West Brom manager has called for his side to show their defensive mett

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West Brom have just three Premier League home wins this season - the most recent against Newcastle on New Year's Day - and only one victory since Mel's appointment in January.

"The way we're approaching the game is to be defensively strong," Mel told the club's website.

"It's been quite a long time since West Brom have kept a clean sheet. We've been conceding some very early goals and that means we have to put a lot of effort in.

"In a lot of the games at home we have gone in at half-time 1-0 down and that means we need to put in extra effort. That's why we have highlighted the kick-off against Hull.

"If you look at the video it shows within two seconds of kick-off we lost the ball.

"You simply cannot lose the ball in the first moments of the game - it was a counter-attack and a cross, which nearly produced a goal.

"This is exactly why we are working hard to make sure this does not happen."

West Brom are three points ahead of Saturday's opponents - but with a game in hand and a far superior goal difference - and Mel knows how pivotal victory this weekend could be.

"We're very capable of creating scoring opportunities and we're convinced, if we don't concede, we'll be able to win the game," he added.

"It's obvious if we concede fewer goals we'll have greater opportunity because we're a team from midfield going forward that create opportunities and are successful in that."

Striker Victor Anichebe faces a fitness test on a hamstring problem.

Mel said: "He is an important player for us and if he doesn't play from the start we'll try at least to get him on the bench to come on.

"But we also have (Saido) Berahino, (Matej) Vydra, Thievy (Bifouma), (Stephane) Sessegnon and (Zoltan) Gera - all players who are capable of playing that role."

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