Nigel Pearson certainly gives off an air of arrogance at times, but with Leicester City currently propping up the Premier League table you could be forgiven for believing his job is under threat.
With his side cut seven points adrift of safety and languishing dangerously close to the trap door into the Football League, Pearson has emerged as one of the most battle hardy managers in English football’s top division of recent times.
In a way then, it is perhaps testament to that British bulldog attitude that the former centre-half has retained his job despite the spotlight of the Premier League glaring ever heavier on the failures of his team.
Potently the Premier League sack race has called time on the reigns of Paul Lambert, Harry Redknapp, Alan Irvine, Neil Warnock, Alan Pardew and most recently, Gus Poyet, but Nigel Pearson remains in charge of Leicester City.
The reasons behind this anomaly are clear and serve as tribute to the owners and background staff of the Foxes for persevering with consistency and stability over the much more widely resorted to, quick fix.
Pearson confident Leicester can survive drop
Despite being involved in an array of off-field controversies recently, including his own reported sacking and re-instatement in a Brian McDermott at Leeds style farce, Pearson is still buoyant of his team’s chances of survival.
“What does remain is the belief in the group that we can get out of this situation," he recently told reporters. “Whether other people believe it or not is probably not relevant.”
Pearson continued: “We’ve nine games left and six of those are at home against teams that are in and around us.
“It’s still in our hands and we have to do better, we have to win.”
This season, Pearson has been involved in an altercation with one of his own fans, an on-field scuffle with Crystal Palace’s James McArthur, swearing at a journalist, and most recently a bizarre attack on referee Mike Dean following Leicester’s 4-3 defeat at Tottenham.
Whether these are signs of the pressures of Premier League life getting to Pearson remains to be seen, but these uncanny antics have recently been likened to that of none other than Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho.
How can this be when one manager is at the top, and one is at the bottom?
Well, Pearson’s ability to deflect attention away from his players is a central trait to that of Mourinho’s post-match interviews, and his results as a manager seem to bear similar fruit to the Portuguese maestro.
In his early managerial career, Pearson helped save Carlisle United from relegation from the Football League, a feat which was matched in 2008 when he saved Southampton from League One at the expense of, extraordinarily Leicester City.
He then took the Foxes from the lowest point in the club’s history securing two promotions and breaking a host of records last season in their Championship title winning bombardment.
The only scratch on his impeccable record being at Hull in between two stints at Leicester where yet despite enduring hard times at the Tigers, he helped break a 66-year old record in guiding Hull to 14 consecutive away games without defeat.
This record then, is perhaps the main reason why Pearson remains a Premier League manager. His history with Leicester sees him, still, a firm favourite amongst the fans and removal of his services by club owners Vichai and Topp Raksriaksorn would certainly meet its critics.
Performances have not been terrible
On top of this, Leicester’s performances this season have been far from a disaster. Despite achieving just four wins thus far, the pick of the bunch being a thrilling 5-3 comeback against Manchester United at the King Power, the Foxes have battled in every game they have played in and according to some, notably celebrity fan and former player Gary Lineker, dubbed the ‘unluckiest team in Premier League history’.
Following Arsenal’s 2-1 win against Leicester at the Emirates in February, England midfielder Jack Wilshere heaped praise on Pearson’s men.
Pearson has expressed his opinion that Leicester has been on the receiving end of some particularly tough decisions this season, and in many cases he could have a case. A controversial penalty awarded for the home team at White Hart Lane this week just the latest in a string of close calls which more often than not have gone against the Premier League’s bottom club.
However, the stats don’t look promising for Pearson’s side. No team in Premier League history has been bottom and so far adrift at this stage in the season and survived, and perhaps more importantly, only 2 teams have been bottom at Christmas and avoided the drop.
Whether you are a fan of Pearson’s Mourinho esque domina, and whether you believe that Leicester City can retain their Premier League status for another season or not, one thing is for sure: Britain’s marmite manager will be solely focussed on doing the best for his players and more likely than not, will still be Leicester City’s manager come the end of the season regardless of their divisional status.
Will Leicester City stay up this season? Have your say in the comments below!
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