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Graham Cummins Column: Nigel Pearson Deserves To Stay

Graham Cummins comes to the defence of Nigel Pearson and champions the case for promotion winning managers who expereince rough EPL starts.

It seems in football nowadays that the worst achievement a manager can do, is to get his side promoted to the Premier League. Clubs seem to forget too quickly just how good a job their manager has done once they get to the highest echelon of English Football. It was reported that Nigel Pearson’s contract had been terminated by Leicester City, with the club latter issuing a statement declaring that this was not the case. Tonight, Leicester face a daunting trip to the Emirates to face Arsenal, who I feel will increase the pressure on Pearson.

People may argue that Leicester are bottom of the table and that it is the right time for Pearson to go. Pearson’s reward for guiding Leicester back to the Premier League after an eleven year absence, looks to be relieving of his duties before the season reaches its climax.

I am a firm believer that if a manager has achieved promotion with a team, then the club should not be allowed to replace the manager the following season unless it is by mutual consent. Pearson has done wonders for Leicester City, not only by getting them to the Premier League, but also during his first stint at the club, he managed to gain promotion to the Championship during the 2008/2009 season. At the end of the season the Leicester board can sit down together and discuss if Nigel Pearson is the right man to take them forward but not until then.

Saturday’s touchline incident with James McArthur has not helped the 51-year-old case. The confrontation with McArthur shows a clear sign of a man under pressure. I think it has been hyped up more than it should, but as a man under pressure Pearson did not need to add more fuel to the fire. It portrays not just a negative image for him but also the club.

I wonder what the Leicester players were thinking at the time, where they saying to themselves ‘this guy has lost the plot, he’s just a joke now’, or were they thinking that if they did not win that game then they could be next on their managers hit-list. Pearson certainly has no defence for his behaviour on Saturday but the incident certainly does not justify the man losing his livelihood.

How ironic it was that the man in the opposition dugout, Alan Pardew, was probably the one man who could sympathise with Pearson’s actions. Pardew himself knows all about tussles with players, who can forget his altercation with Hull City’s David Meyler last season, during his time as Newcastle United manager. Newcastle stood firm with Pardew at the time and supported their manager and so should Leicester.

Perhaps the success both Crystal Palace and Southampton had when they replaced their managers during their first season back in the Premier league, has persuaded chairmen to think that it is the right solution. There are other times when this is not always best idea. Cardiff last season replaced Malky Mackey with Ole Gunner Solskjaer. Solskjaer was unable to keep Cardiff in the league and it seemed he was also not capable of getting the club back into the Premier league. They now find themselves with a new manager again, Russell Slade, assumingly costing the club a vast amount of money in compensation.

If Nigel Pearson were to be relieved of his duties, then it seems strange timing. The transfer window has just shut and the new manager would have to work with the group of players that is at the club. It would take time for players to adjust to a new managers ideas, whereas Pearson knows the players and I’m sure the players still believe in him.

Leicester’s January signings may prove to be the decider as to whether they stay in the league and Nigel Pearson stays in a job. Leonardo Ulloa was one of the reasons why Leicester started the season so well but his dip in form meant that Leicester strengthened their squad up front with the signing of Andrej Kramric. Kramric may prove to be an excellent acquisition for the club but I don’t feel now was the right time for him to join Leicester.

Moving from a foreign country into the Premier League players need time to settle. Kramric will not be given that time, Leicester need him to hit the ground running and score the goals that will keep them in the Premier League. Perhaps Pearson should have gone for the tried and tested, Jermaine Defoe, to get them out of their relegation dogfight. We don’t know nowadays who makes signings at clubs but the axe will fall on the manager’s head if Kramric does not save the club.

You can clearly see that the Leicester board have more of an ambition than to just survive in the Premier League. I think they should have modelled themselves on Burnley this year. I am in no doubt that Sean Dyche’s job at Burnley is safe no matter where the club finish. Dyche will not be under any pressure from the board and this will reflex on his players. A manager under pressure can rattle players and make them feel nervous on the pitch. Burnley currently lie 17th in the table with many tipping them to still get relegated. Leicester certainly have more at their disposal than Burnley and if Pearson was guaranteed that his job was safe then maybe he and the players could relax more, leading to better results on the pitch.


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Author: The PA Team

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