‘The bigger picture..’ Nigel Pearson’s frank admission about ousted Bristol City star

Nigel Pearson is looking at the bigger picture at Bristol City after an out-of-contract player was absent from the last three squads.

Han-Noah Massengo is out of contract with Bristol City at the end of the season. (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)
Han-Noah Massengo is out of contract with Bristol City at the end of the season. (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)
Han-Noah Massengo is out of contract with Bristol City at the end of the season. (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

Nigel Pearson has admitted Han-Noah Massengo will have to accept his place in the pecking order at Bristol City with his long-term future uncertain.

Massengo has been absent from the match-day squad for the last three matches after last featuring in the 3-0 defeat to Birmingham City. The 21-year-old played for the Under-21’s squad on Tuesday instead of making the midweek trip to West Brom.

The French midfielder has been in-and-out of the first-team with six league starts and four substitute appearances, whilst also being an unused substitute on two occasions. Massengo has shown promise in some matches but has been unable to maintain a level of consistency.

His long-term future at the Robins is likely to be away from Ashton Gate with his contract expiring next summer. An offer from City has been on the table for a year but talks have remained at a stalemate. With Massengo free to talk to clubs from outside of England in January, this is the first time that Pearson has consigned himself publicly to losing the player.

“He wasn’t in the squad. I spoke to him this morning and we had a good conversation,” he said in his pre-match conference ahead of the trip to Reading.

“My view on him never changes. I like him and all he said to me this morning was that he will be ready when he’s needed, which is great. “We both recognise that his intention is to maybe look elsewhere and there is no point hiding from that.”

Last season, the manager admitted that whilst his contract remained unsigned that his role in the team may be limited. He has not exiled from the squad completely but instead used sporadically, but has himself held conversations with the manager to make him available when called upon.

Academy midfielder Dylan Kadji has taken his place in the match-day squad as of late with several substitute appearances, though he wasn’t named on the bench on Tuesday.

A starting midfield three of Joe Williams, Matty James and Alex Scott played on Tuesday with long-term futures more secure at the club. James and Williams are contracted until the summer of 2024 and valuable asset Scott is here until 2025.

Andy King holds a player-coach role with Pearson stating his influence. He has been available when called upon whilst Ayman Benarous is another option to consider when he returns from injury.

With a host of players ahead of him in the pecking order, Massengo for now has to accept that his role in the team will be limited. Nigel Pearson instead has to look to the future by developing the games of players who will be at the club in the long-term.

He said: “What I have to do in the meantime is make sure that the players that are here for the longer haul get a fair deal as well.

“There is nothing to hide with it, he’s still one of our players. Whilever he is here he will get mine and our full support. There has to be a realism at how we look at what the bigger picture is.  We’ve got players here who have committed their futures to the club.

“I think it’s fair to say that those players are ahead of Han-Noah. I would not think twice about including him and selecting him if it needs him. If a game suits him absolutely no problem at all. There is no secret.”