Pearson: Survival still ‘big ask’

Published: Saturday 4th April 2015 by The News Editor

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Leicester boss Nigel Pearson stressed after his team’s 2-1 win over West Ham that they were likely to need something similar four or five more times to beat the drop.

The victory, the Foxes’ first in nine Barclays Premier League matches, gave their survival bid a considerable boost as the gap between Pearson’s bottom-placed side and safety was reduced to four points.

The manager was delighted with the outcome at the King Power Stadium, which he felt was no less than was deserved for a Leicester outfit he believes have been unfortunate not to collect more points of late.

But Pearson was also keen to emphasise that it was still a “big ask” for the club, who have 22 points from 30 games and play at home five more times in their eight remaining fixtures, to avoid relegation.

“It is still a big ask for us to achieve retaining our Premier League status at this point,” Pearson said.

“We have five games left at home and we have to give ourselves the best chance by performing as positively as we have done today.

“Today I think we got what we deserved, but we have to do what we have done today maybe four or five times more between now and the end of the season.

“Before the game started today we were looking at a season of nine games, with six of them at home, and we know we have to produce.”

Leicester began the contest well as Esteban Cambiasso’s sweet strike put them 1-0 up in the 12th minute and they were awarded a penalty three minutes later, but David Nugent’s spot-kick was saved by Adrian.

It looked for a long time as if they would be left to rue that moment, with Cheikhou Kouyate equalising on 32 minutes and the hosts spurning further decent chances after the break.

Kouyate also shot against a post in the second half, but Leicester snatched victory in dramatic style in the 86th minute when substitute Andy King diverted in a Jamie Vardy shot.

Pearson was adamant the result was the most important thing, but, reflecting on his team’s display, said: “I think we started very well today and went 1-0 up with a good goal.

“Missing the penalty possibly affected our belief and confidence for the next 15 or 20 minutes, when I think it was their (West Ham’s) best spell – because 2-0 is a damn sight better than 1-0.

“But for the whole of the second half I thought we were in the ascendancy, even though they had their moments.

“We really did try to force the issue and I was very pleased with the players’ approach and the contribution of the substitutes.

“We were talking very fine lines today. We scored the winner on 86 minutes and I could be talking about a draw or a defeat, even though we were dominant in the second half.

“Those are the fine lines I have been talking about all season.”

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce, whose mid-table side have now won only once in nine league games, lamented the Londoners’ inability to make the most of their goalscoring opportunities.

“It was swings and roundabouts,” Allardyce said.

“Our failure to take our chances was why we lost the game in the end.

“I think Nigel will have been delighted with his team’s start and then absolutely distraught when they missed the penalty, especially with us then taking control of the game. By half-time we really should have been leading.

“But we made it an open game, didn’t take enough of our chances and ended up losing at the end.”

Published: Saturday 4th April 2015 by The News Editor

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