West Brom 1 Everton 1: Pepe Mel will make decisions and has no intention of dropping striker Nicolas Anelka

The Baggies' sponsor Zoopla will end their partnership with the club at the end of the season over Anelka's controversial 'quenelle' gesture

New West Brom manager Pepe Mel insists he will make decisions in the best interests of the club from a football perspective and had no intention of dropping Nicolas Anelka.

The Frenchman played 77 minutes of the Baggies' 1-1 draw at home to Everton having dominated the pre-match build-up as the furore over his controversial 'quenelle' gesture rumbled on.

In the hours leading up to the game shirt sponsors Zoopla, who had reportedly requested the 34-year-old not play and also not wear their name on his shirt, announced they would not be renewing their £3million two-year deal when it expired in the summer.

Mel, who had enough to deal with preparing for his first match in charge, insisted the situation regarding Anelka - who is awaiting the imminent conclusion of a Football Association investigation - had not adversely affected him or his team.

Asked whether he considered dropping the striker, the Baggies boss said: "No. I spoke to him yesterday (Sunday) and asked him if he was ready to play and he said he was.

"Nicolas is a very good player. He is a very good professional and I am only the head coach.

"My obligation is to think about football and the best interests of West Bromwich Albion.

"If he is suspended then I won't be able to play him but at the club we must just think about winning matches."

They were not able to win but Diego Lugano's 75th-minute near-post header cancelled out Kevin Mirallas' first-half opener and ensured Mel opened his Premier League account with a point.

"It was a long day for me as I was working from 8am to get ready for the game but the end is beautiful," Mel added.

"The result really is a very fair one. The first half we were too open and the second half we were too compact.

"In the first half we made lots of errors which could have cost us the game but thankfully we were able to talk about them at half-time.

"It was very good first step. Everton are a strong side but we go away from here thinking we did a good job."

Everton missed the chance to go fourth and manager Roberto Martinez knew they should have capitalised on their first-half performance.

The Spaniard is hopeful a successful work permit application for Monaco's 6ft 8ins Ivory Coast striker Lacina Traore will provide more firepower after he sold Nikica Jelavic to Hull last week.

"Lacina is a player who I really like and is someone who would fit in really well in the role we want the player to come in," he said.

"There are a couple of hurdles that we need to get over; the work permit is something we need to look into.

"If we can get through that he will be a player we will be very keen to add to the squad,.

"He had a recent soft tissue problem but it is not too bad. He is a few days away from being fully fit and we were quite happy with the medical.

"Every work permit is difficult. We have a very strong case of showing why we need Lacina with us.

"He is a very talented footballer. He is only 23 and has already had a couple of moves (totalling) nearly £30million but every work permit is a difficult one and we will try our best."

 

PA

Pepe Mel reflects on his first game in charge of West Brom:

 

Life and Style
life
News
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie reportedly married in secret on Saturday
peopleSpokesperson for couple confirms they tied the knot on Saturday after almost a decade together
Life and Style
Chen Mao recovers in BK Hospital, Seoul
health
News
Joan Rivers has reportedly been hospitalised after she stopped breathing during surgery
people81-year-old 'stopped breathing' during vocal chord surgery
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Diana from the Great British Bake Off 2014
tvProducers confirm contestant left because of illness
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live
tv
Life and Style
fashion

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone