Nigel Pearson is eager to put the uncertainty over his future behind him in a bid to lead Leicester City away from the bottom of the Premier League table.
Having led the Foxes into the top-flight after winning the Championship last season, they are currently propping up the standings having won just four of their 24 fixtures to date. The latest defeat, 1-0 at home to Crystal Palace, also made the headlines after Pearson’s bizarre spat with opposing player James McArthur, whom he grabbed by the throat on the touchline, an incident which comes a little over two months after he was involved in an ugly row with one of his side’s supporters.
Reports had emerged on Sunday evening, at around 6 o’clock, that the Leicester board had decided to sack Pearson and look to replace him in a bid to avoid an instant return to the second-tier. However, a few hours later, they released a statement to deny this was the case and to confirm that the 51-year-old was still in charge at the King Power Stadium. And speaking ahead of the trip to Arsenal on Tuesday night, the City manager insists his relationship with the club remains intact.
“In an ideal world, I’d rather the story had not got out there,’’ said Pearson. “We are bottom of the league, there is speculation, and unfortunately stories like this break. I have to continue to lead the players. Anything counter-productive is going to detract from what we are trying to do. The story was based on speculation. I’m here today, and it’s important we focus on tomorrow night. I’ve always had good working relations with the owners and am sure I will moving forward.”
In regards to his grapple with McArthur, the player later tweeted that the incident had been blown out of all proportions. And this is an opinion Pearson also shares, whilst he has also taken a swipe at the Match of the Day team who he feels exaggerated the episode on their Saturday evening programme. Indeed, the Foxes manager has also claimed to have spoken to his board about the incident, and he insists he has the full support of his paymasters just as he did with the fan argument.
“The owners are fine just as they were with the incident with the fan,’’ he said. “It’s not helpful when the three fountains of knowledge on Match of the Day [Gary Lineker, Jermaine Jenas and Danny Murphy] make a mountain out of a molehill. Some people criticise me for not being interested enough, sitting in the stands, and then I go down to the technical area. I’m a human being, I’m going to make mistakes from time to time. The mistakes I make are going to be honest ones.’’
Lineker, who was born in the city and made his name for the club with 103 goals in 216 first team appearances, has hit back at Pearson’s words, and this afternoon tweeted: “Ah Nigel Pearson is blaming MOTD for making a mountain out of a molehill. We’d best be careful in future, the fella can look after himself.” Paul McCarthy, the football journalist, then asked the former England international if he was indeed a fountain of knowledge, to which he replied: “if I was I’d tell you that he was sacked by one of the owners’ family and reinstated by another, but then I’m not.”