Roberto Martinez backs Pepe Mel to surprise everyone at The Hawthorns

Everton boss Martinez believes Pepe Mel can have great success at The Hawthorns

It was a huge surprise when West Bromwich Albion decided to sack Steve Clarke after he had led them to an all time high 8th place finish in the Premier League last season. It was certainly not an obvious choice, when they chose Spaniard Pepe Mel as his successor.

Pepe Mel arrives on the back of a spell as manager of Real Betis in La Liga, But he left them earlier this season when they were propping up the table.

It seems to me that West Brom are hoping he can have a similar impact as Mauricio Pochettino at Southampton. That was a surprise appointment at the time following another harsh sacking. However it has worked out for them, and they now play great, attacking football.

West Brom must feel they are a similar sized club to The Saints, and have now adopted the same approach to try and progress as a club.

Arriving on the back of just three full seasons in La Liga, Pepe Mel now finds himself in the biggest league in the world. Many fans are unconvinced, but fellow Spaniard Roberto Martinez has backed the former Real Vallecano manager to be a success.

Speaking at a pre-match press conference Martinez said "Pepe Mel will surprise a lot of people, he has done a remarkable job wherever he has been."

His spell at Real Betis can probably be regarded as his most successful spell. He took them up from the second tier in his first season in charge and then led to them to a seventh place finish in La Liga, qualifying for the Europa League in the process. Despite progressing in that competition he was sacked due to a poor performance in the league this season.

Mel has landed on his feet with the West Brom job though. He inherits a great squad, capable of another top-ten finish this season. Baggies fans were generally happy with Steve Clarke though, and Mel will have to show them something to convince them he is the man to take them forward.

image: © hisgett

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