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Roberto Martinez backs Pepe Mel to succeed at West Brom

Updated: Monday, 20 Jan 2014 11:18 | Comments

Martinez on Mel: 'I think he will surprise a lot of people'
Martinez on Mel: 'I think he will surprise a lot of people'

Everton manager Roberto Martinez believes West Brom counterpart Pepe Mel will be a surprise success at The Hawthorns.

The Spaniard takes charge of his first match tonight against the Toffees (kick off 8pm )and his compatriot believes he will do well, despite early scepticism over the appointment.

"I think he will surprise a lot of people. He has been very successful in his time in Spain," said Martinez.

"The first time I was aware of his work was at Rayo Vallecano when he got them promoted to the top league against the odds with a very small budget and since then he has done a remarkable job wherever he has been.

"It is probably the wrong time to face Pepe Mel, but we wish him the best of luck after Monday.

"I can see this West Brom side being a different one to what has been so far this season.

"We know their players really well, but they will do things differently.

"But we will concentrate on ourselves and try to be as good as we can in the things we do."

Ireland international Aiden McGeady could make his debut for Everton but Antolin Alcaraz and midfielder Ross Barkley are injured.

Sylvain Distin is expected to return after three matches out with a hamstring strain.

Baggies boss Mel is facing a striker crisis ahead of his first game.

Albion sold Ireland forward Shane Long to Hull for £7m last week while Victor Anichebe and Stephane Sessegnon are both doubtful.

"In football you get trends. In the 1970s it was Germany and Holland, then the Italians were winning consistently in Europe and that affected the game. Now it is Spain" - Roberto Martinez

Mel's arrival means yet another Spanish or Spain-influenced manager is plying his trade in the Premier League after the likes of Martinez, Mauricio Pochettino, Jose Mourinho and Manuel Pellegrini.

And, while the Spanish way has become very much the current fashion, Martinez insists English football is not losing its identity.

"In football you get trends. In the 1970s it was Germany and Holland, then you had a period where the Italians were winning consistently in Europe and that affected the game," he said.

"Now it is Spain and the way they develop players and their concept of possession football has a big influence.

"It is always beneficial to open up to different ways of working and then pick what fits each individual and each country and we are going to benefit in terms of different cultures working in the same league.

"That will allow the players to be more rounded and have a bigger football knowledge and that can only help.

"English football still has its own identity, 100 per cent.

"That physicality, that 'no excuse' approach to the game - there are many special aspects of the British game.

"The intensity, the way you work off the ball, of going anywhere and trying to win and having a go - you don't get that in other leagues.

"We are fortunate in having the essence of the British game and we shouldn't under-estimate that.

"Yes, we should evolve and be aware of what is happening in other countries and leagues but we should never lose what makes us different."

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