Mel was unveiled as Albion's new head coach on Thursday - succeeding the sacked Steve Clarke on an 18-month contract - but has been working with the players since Tuesday ahead of Monday's home game against Everton.
He said: "I spoke with Rafa Benitez.
"He was a team-mate of mine at Real Madrid. He really did encourage me to come here over to England. He said it is a club that needs to do a lot of work but has a lot of possibilities to be successful.
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