Tuesday 12 November 2019

Pearson: Wins are all that count

Nigel Pearson is only interested in wins
Nigel Pearson is only interested in wins

Leicester boss Nigel Pearson admits he would be happy to see his team putting in "c**p" performances if victories came with it.

The Foxes, the Barclays Premier League's bottom side, beat West Ham 2-1 at home on Saturday to give their bid for survival a much-needed boost.

It was the first time they had secured maximum points in nine attempts and Pearson believes his men's efforts have warranted far more than they have yielded of late, with the 4-3 loss at Tottenham on March 21 being a particular case in point.

He was in no doubt the West Ham win was deserved, but was also keen to stress that the result had been the most important thing.

And he added: "I would love to be a lucky manager whose team plays c**p and wins.

"But we have not been that, and I think that is because the level and technical ability of sides you are playing against in the Premier League doesn't allow you to do that too often."

Pearson had declared himself "very pleased" with the way his players approached Saturday's match, but also said: "We probably played better against Spurs.

"We have been playing well but what we have not been able to do is achieve three points and that is always going to be the big ask at this level.

"Now we have to make sure that, when the players refocus themselves from the West Ham game and result, we plan for the next game. That is how it is."

Leicester are six points adrift of safety with eight games left to play - one more than all the other clubs in the relegation battle.

And Pearson said: "It would be a pretty grumpy man who wouldn't let his players enjoy winning. But the reality is that we all know the situation we are in.

"The key factor in all this is to get the balance right between being able to enjoy successes, but also understanding why we have been a success and where in other games we have come unstuck."

Pearson's opposite number Sam Allardyce feels Leicester's performances show they have the quality to stay up.

Asked if he thought the Foxes had enough to survive, the West Ham manager said: "I don't think they've shown anything other than enough - they just haven't got the results."

Allardyce's own team - ninth in the table - have had little joy on the results front themselves recently, with Saturday's loss meaning they have now won only once in nine league fixtures.

Their fate was sealed at the King Power Stadium by a close-range finish from substitute Andy King in the 86th minute of a contest which looked throughout as if it could go either way.

Cheikhou Kouyate cancelled out Esteban Cambiasso's fine 12th-minute opener for the hosts by firing in around the half hour mark, and the Hammers midfielder also hit the post in the second half, while Allardyce's men weathered plenty of attacks at the other end.

They almost found themselves 2-0 down early on, with goalkeeper Adrian coming to their rescue as he saved David Nugent's 15th-minute penalty by diving to his left.

And the Spanish stopper has revealed not only that he was confident he knew beforehand which way Nugent would shoot - but also that he let the Leicester forward know as much as he stepped up to take the spot-kick in an effort to unsettle him.

"Every time, the day before, I watch the strikers on video," Adrian said.

"I know where they strike the ball. His best side was that side.

"I told him before the penalty that I knew that. I tried to make him nervous.

"It was unlucky for him that I saved the penalty."

PA Media

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