West Brom appoint Spaniard as new coach

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West Bromwich Albion chose Pepe Mel as its new coach on Thursday on an 18-month contract.

Mel, from Spain, replaced Steve Clarke, who was fired last month.

Keith Downing and Dean Kiely, who temporarily led the English Premier League side for five games since Clarke's departure, will continue to guide the side on Saturday against Southampton, while Mel watches from the stands.

The 50-year-old Mel was sacked by Real Betis on Dec. 2, after leading the side into the Europa League last season.

Mel, a former Real Betis striker, has previously coached mainly in the Spanish leagues, plus one year in Brazil.

His first job in England involves a side lying 14th in the league, and out of the FA Cup and League Cup.

''Pepe is a forward thinking coach whose teams are renowned for playing an attractive and positive style of football,'' West Brom sporting and technical director Richard Garlick said on the club website.

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