Leicester deny sacking boss Nigel Pearson after touchline clash
Leicester City 0 Crystal Palace 1
Leicester City were last night forced to deny reports they had sacked manager Nigel Pearson, 24 hours after he was captured on television cameras appearing to grab Crystal Palace player James McArthur by the throat during Saturday's 1-0 home defeat.
The latest loss left the club languishing at the bottom of the Premier League table, four points from safety, after just four victories all season and with 14 matches remaining.
Pearson, 51, was appointed again at the King Power Stadium in 2011, having left the club first-time round in 2010 after two years in charge having falling out of favour with the previous owner, Milan Mandaric.
A club statement issued late last night read: "Leicester City Football Club would like to clarify its position relative to its manager, Nigel Pearson. His staff and the first team squad are entirely focused on Tuesday night's trip to Arsenal."
Pearson was given a one-match touchline ban and fine for telling one of his team's supporters to "f*** off and die" two months ago.
On Saturday, McArthur, who nearly signed for Leicester in the close season before moving to Palace from Wigan Athletic, accidentally knocked Pearson over as he slid off the pitch into the technical area.
Pearson reacted by putting his hand around the player's neck as both lay on the ground and then tugging the Scotland international's shirt when he tried to return to the pitch.
Although it appeared playful at first, Pearson put his hand on McArthur's throat before he kept hold of the midfielder, prompting an angry exchange of words before the fourth official intervened.
Asked why he held McArthur back, Pearson added: "Because he said something to me. I don't have to reveal anything, do I? I'm more than capable of looking after myself."
For Alan Pardew, Joe Ledley's winning goal means the Crystal Palace manager has won five out of six games since taking over at the club.
His new side take on former club Newcastle on Wednesday and he says the reunion, coming little more than a month after a Palace welcome mat persuaded him finally to leave all the vitriol behind, will be "emotional" for meeting friends rather than confronting enemies.
"I've got all my staff there and my players, and they're close to my heart," he said. "It will be strange after four years of living every part of that football club and that city it is emotional, so it will be a different game for me."