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Mel staying strong despite tough start at West Brom

West Bromwich Albion manager Pepe Mel is not shying away from the challenge he faces in the English Premier League.

The Spaniard took the reins at The Hawthorns on January 9 but has so far failed to oversee a win with the West Midlands club.

Albion have fallen to 17th on the league table, equal on points with third-bottom Cardiff City, and are without striker Nicolas Anelka who was banned for five matches after performing an alleged anti-Semitic gesture.

However, Mel is not losing faith ahead of this weekend's vital clash with Swansea City as he was aware it would be a very tricky job when he took over from Steve Clarke.

"No, I knew it wasn't going to be easy," he told reporters through an interpreter.

"Alongside the situation with Anelka, the injuries and, of course, the results, there is also the fact that it is a new country with a new language and culture.

"But, for me, it was an opportunity and a really exciting one. I'm a very well recognised head coach in Spain, but here I have to earn the right to be respected.

"This is what I am trying to do and the only way I know is through hard work."

Mel added that the Baggies supporters have been extremely helpful since he arrived and he is looking forward to seeing them take his native Spanish flag with them to the Liberty Stadium on Saturday.

"I think the supporters are extremely important," he added.

"Players and coaches come and go but the supporters really are the heart and soul of the club.

"I can only thank them. Since I came to West Brom, they have been extremely kind to me. Indeed, everyone at the club has.

"But what I would really like to stress is that I am extremely indebted to the supporters.

"However, perhaps this isn't the best game because Swansea have eight Spanish players!"

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