Nigel Pearson has admitted that he does not trust some of his Bristol City players at the moment which could affect his team selection against Watford. The Robins are on a bad run of form with just two wins in their last 12 matches.
The latest defeat came at the hands of Lincoln City, who scored three goals without response until substitute Tommy Conway’s late consolation goal. The Imps, who were mid-table in League One beat a City that had eight changes.
Watford pose a difficult threat, given their Premier League riches for last season, and are a side well equipped for an immediate return to the top flight. The Hornets have won four of their last five matches and are beginning to perform under new manager Slaven Bilic. City meanwhile have only won once in their last five matches at Ashton Gate.
A bad run of form has begun talk amongst the fan base as to whether Nigel Pearson could find himself under pressure. City’s current position of 20th is far-below their expectations of the playoffs and this will be the final opportunity to make an impression before the break for the World Cup.
Changes are expected to be made when the team is announced at 2.00 pm, and not many from the game against Lincoln will have had to say they may have changed Pearson’s mind for Saturday. The 59-year-old has stated that a positive result is a must this weekend.
“Selection is about whether the players can do the job but there’s an element of trust involved,” Pearson said ahead of the visit of Watford. Managers don’t go forever on a run of bad results.
“I’m aware this is probably going to be an important game as otherwise people might start wondering about my position is. I’ve invested too much time and energy in this job to allow players that I probably don’t really trust too much at the minute to play. It will be how I am approaching the game, I will be blunt. The bottom line is we need a result this week, it’s as simple as that.”
“We have invested too much in the strategy we’re adopting to ignore the work we’ve put in. It’s been a difficult 18 months in trying to reshape it.”
City’s bad run of form is stark contrast to the last international break. After losing their first two matches to Hull City and Sunderland, they went on a long unbeaten run. Two defeats to Norwich City and Burnley just before the the end of September, was the beginning of what has been a slump down the table.
Pearson’s side have been unable to get back-to-back wins since the international period before the World Cup, which was an unwanted habbit from last season. It hasn’t been for the lack of trying though and in some matches, City have come away without anything or only a point, when the performance will have merited more.
The defeat to Lincoln City on Tuesday was a frustration given the battling performance shown at Middlesbrough. For most games, City have been the better team and nullified the opposition, but against Boro they had to grind out a performance. It is that performance against Boro, that has been needed from City to see out matches.
Kal Naismith’s absence, coupled with a bout of illness that went through the squad, has meant naming a consistent team has been a difficult task. It has led to individual errors being made that have ultimately proved costly. A poor run of form has ultimately made for pressure talk but the ex-Leicester City manager believes that there are more elements than to just putting the blame on him.
“I can only speak for myself but my feeling is that there is a lot of shared frustration,” he said. The important thing is to choose the right team based on what we know we will get from the players we select. There is an element of trust there.
“In the difficult run we have had we’ve had some good performances. We’ve not always got the results, maybe performances have warranted. What’s been the underlying factor is too many individual errors that have cost us. It is something we have to continue to work at. There is no quick fix on that.
He added: “We’ve dropped down to 20th which isn’t great but it’s just ridiculously tight. We continue to throw points away that we shouldn’t. It means that we find ourselves dropping down the table when our aspirations are a lot higher than that. Managers ultimately carry the can but there’s a lot more to it than that.”