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The Premier League manager who can't give team talks

West Brom boss Pepe Mel reveals he leaves half-time team talks to backroom staff

West Bromwich Albion manager Pepe Mel has revealed he does not give the half-time team talk inside the Baggies dressing room.

Mel, who joined Albion as Steve Clarke’s replacement in January, has faced the challenge of learning the English language since arriving in the Premier League from Spain. The coach has required an interpreter to assist with all media duties and has today revealed he leaves the team talks to assistant boss Keith Downing and goalkeeper coach Dean Kiely.

The Spaniard picked up his first win in over two months in charge of Albion last Saturday, as his side beat Swansea 2-1 late on at the Liberty Stadium. He has been under increased pressure of late with regard to both results and his relationship with the players.

Mel told reporters at his press conference on Thursday that until his English is good enough he will continue to leave the team talks to his backroom staff.

“When you are head coach the language is most important,” said Mel.

‘”For this reason Deano and Keith are very important people for me. I speak with them, then at half-time they speak with the players. It’s better.

“I am 51 years old and four months before I arrived here, I had never spoken English. In three or four months more I will speak it well. It will be better for me because the private relation, the face-to-face, is important. I need to reach the players.”

Mel now faces a trip to another relegation rival this weekend as Albion travel to Hull City, with the club still not out of danger.

Can Mel steer Albion clear of relegation despite the language barrier?

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