Friday 15 November 2019

Pearson relieved as Foxes stay safe

Nigel Pearson was a relieved man after guiding Leicester to Barclays Premier League safety
Nigel Pearson was a relieved man after guiding Leicester to Barclays Premier League safety

Nigel Pearson admitted relief was his overriding emotion after seeing his Leicester side secure their Barclays Premier League status with a 0-0 draw at Sunderland.

The point the Foxes collected from their trip to Wearside took their tally to 19 from a possible 24, and 38 in total, to assure safety with a game to spare - a remarkable achievement for a club which had looked to be heading straight back into the Sky Bet Championship before launching a concerted fightback.

Pearson said: "There's no point in me trying to flower over it, I was relieved. It's not been an easy season. There have been highlights and plenty of lowlights as well, let's be honest.

"But we have managed to stay together throughout it, and that's the important thing for us. Even when there have been question marks over, whether it be my position or the integrity of certain aspects of the football club, throughout it all, we have just kept a pretty low profile - apart from one or two occasions.

"But I don't think that's a bad thing either."

Chelsea remain the only team to have beaten City in a run of eight games, and Pearson paid tribute to his players and the work they have done in recent weeks to fashion their own salvation.

He said: "The players need to enjoy it for what it is - it has been a tremendous run and an achievement in context.

"Success is relative and success for us this season, when you consider where we were a couple of months ago, to achieve safety with a game to go is testament to the work that the players have put in.

"That's something that we can't under-play, but we have a game left and we want to win that one now as well."

In a game of few chances at the Stadium of Light, neither side did enough to win it. Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel kept out Sebastian Larsson's early free-kick, but otherwise neither he nor opposite number Costel Pantilimon had much to do.

As a result, Sunderland still need a point to be mathematically assured of their place in the top flight as they prepare for tricky trips to Arsenal and Chelsea, although anything less than victory for Hull against Manchester United on Sunday would mean their current total of 37 would suffice.

Asked if that might be enough as it stands, head coach Dick Advocaat said: "That's difficult to say, but we have 11 points out of six [games] - that's a lot - but still two games to go.

"We still have everything in our own hands and why is it not possible to get a point? I have a good feeling about that."

When he arrived on Wearside, Advocaat admitted his side probably needed to have collected the points required by now given the strength of opposition in their final two matches, but he has refused to write off his side's chances of picking something up at either the Emirates Stadium or Stamford Bridge.

Asked if he believed they could get something from Arsenal on Wednesday evening, he replied: "Why not? But the other teams have also a duty to play as well as possible, and we have to do that as well.

"We will go out there to try to win the game, the same as Swansea did. But if you go out there to play for one point, you have no chance. We still have to do something by ourselves."

PA Media

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