5 tackles, 17 clearances: WBA defender shines in Pepe Mel’s first match

Diego Lugano put in an impressive performance during the Baggies’ 1-1 draw at home to Everton

West Bromwich Albion boss Pepe Mel enjoyed his first Premier League point on his managerial debut in England’s top flight as the Baggies fought back to secure a 1-1 draw at home to a strong Everton side.

The draw will probably suit the home side more as Everton could have gone into the half-time interval more than a goal up. WBA looked a little blunt upfront during the first-half, failing to really impose themselves as they passed up the opportunity to test Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard on a few occasions.

Everton finally took the lead just before half-time as Mirallas got onto the end of a Lukaku knock-down, before beating Ben Foster with ease. However, the home side improved after the break. With 15-minutes remaining, Uruguayan defender Diego Lugano timed his near post run to perfection, connecting with James Morrison’s cross to power a header past the hapless Tim Howard to reward boss Pepe Mel with a positive start to his WBA career.

WBA’s 33-year-old centre back deservedly picked up the man of the match for putting in a solid defensive display. The former PSG defender is relatively new to England too, having only joined West Brom in the summer following a six month loan spell at Malaga.

The defender has heaps of experience to count on, playing for big clubs such as PSG, Fenerbache and Sao Paulo as well as being capped by his country 91 times. The defender certainly shone at The Hawthorns last night, making five tackles, three interceptions and a whopping 17 clearances.

The performance of Diego Lugano might come as a bit of a surprise as the defender hasn’t featured that regularly for West Brom this season, having previously started just three Premier League games before yesterday.

Will he become a permanent fixture for Pepe Mel at the back? Possibly not. But Lugano certainly can communicate with his boss far better than what he could under previous management and a couple of repeat performances will do him no harm whatsoever.

image: © stadiumguide

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