Nigel Pearson was frustrated with how ‘careless’ his Bristol City side were in their 1-0 defeat to Luton Town at Kenilworth Road on Wednesday.
Carlton Morris’ header was enough to guide the Hatters to all three points, as several below-par performances from City players made for a frustrating night.
Despite netting twice against Blackpool on Saturday, the Robins’ struggles in front of goal were clear to see against Rob Edwards’ side. The visitors failed to record a shot in the first half and didn’t threaten the Luton backline until the latter stages.
Morris’ goal came inside five minutes, and Pearson reflected on the beginning of the match to BBC Radio Bristol: “We didn’t start very well, we caused ourselves numerous problems in the first 20 minutes and it looked like it could be a really long night, just because we had too many players out of sorts and too many players who were making bad decisions on the pitch.
“But in fairness, it shows that while there's only one goal in the game, there’s always a chance of getting back into it. Our second-half performance was much better, we had to change our shape to try and give us more of a foothold in the game. We were so careless tonight and players who have been so consistently good for us had a bit of a tough night, but they still came through with credit in the end because of the way we stuck at it.”
One man who kept City in the game was Max O’Leary. The goalkeeper made a brilliant double save in the first half as well as an excellent reaction stop to deny Morris his second goal of the night.
“I’m realistic enough to know that max made some super saves as well,” Pearson said. “He made two with his feet in the first half, he made a really good save in the second half from a header which was a really good reaction save.”
While the night may be one to forget for City, Pearson was keen to recognise the progress that they have made over the recent months.
With the ruthless nature of the Championship, it is difficult to be consistent week in, week out, and the manager was measured in his overall assessment of the match.
“It’s important to have a realistic reflection on what tonight was. We didn’t reach the sorts of standards that I would expect us to, and what the players expect as well, but we still showed a lot of spirit and desire to get back into it, and I think that is some consolation.”