Mel reveals disgraced player helped him at West Brom

Spaniard says he had good relationship with Anelka despite controversy.


West Bromwich Albion boss Pepe Mel has revealed that the sacked Nicolas Anelka helped him settle at the club.

Mel was appointed in January to replace Steve Clarke, but has struggled with the language barrier and poor results of late.

Albion picked up their first win under the Spaniard on Saturday, as they beat Swansea City late on at the Liberty Stadium to release some of the pressure on Mel’s position.

The club sacked striker Nicolas Anelka for ‘gross misconduct’ on Friday night, following his refusal to apologise to the club and supporters for his controversial ‘quenelle’ celebration in December. Anelka had tweeted earlier on the day saying he had terminated his Albion contract, but had no authority to officially cancel.

Mel says that he had a good relationship with Anelka, and that the Frenchman helped him settle in to the club.

"My relationship with Nicolas Anelka was good and he helped me,” he told reporters on Saturday.

“I hope now the situation is resolved in the best way possible for all parties.

"The club needs all of its forces and energy to move forward. We are professionals and not keeping West Bromwich Albion up would be a failure for everyone."

The Baggies face a trip to Hull City this weekend, and sit just points behind the Tigers who have had an excellent season to date.

Albion could struggle for defensive numbers again, after Jonas Olsson picked up his tenth yellow card of the season at Swansea, meaning he is banned for two games. Right-back Billy Jones and Diego Lugano are also still thought to be a month away from returning.

Has the win at Swansea given the Baggies the momentum they need to survive?

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