Nigel Pearson reveals mood inside Bristol City dressing room after loss to Man City
The Bristol City boss spoke on how his players reacted to the Man City defeat
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Nigel Pearson has revealed that his Bristol City players were ‘genuinely disappointed’ after their 3-0 defeat to Manchester City in the FA Cup.
A brace from Phil Foden and a late strike from Kevin De Bruyne surrendered the Robins to their first defeat of 2023 at Ashton Gate, but things could’ve been much different.
Pearson’s side were denied a penalty in the first half when Mark Sykes was bundled over by Rico Lewis, and the Robins had a number of openings including a Sam Bell header in the second half.
The defeat ends the Robins’ 12-game unbeaten run, and Pearson spoke on the feeling of the dressing room.
“I’m proud with how the players approached the game, I'm pleased they’re disappointed too,” he said. “That’s something that tells you where they are. For somebody like myself to be, not consoling them but trying to look for positives for them in the dressing room. They're genuinely disappointed tonight and that tells you where we are compared to where we were.”
Though the three-goal margin makes the match appear rather one-sided, that wasn't the case. Pearson’s side went toe-to-toe with the Citizens for large parts of the match and stuck with their positive, aggressive style throughout the 90 minutes.
Pearson added: “I think the most important thing for us is that we were true to ourselves. We tried to approach the game by playing our own way.
“Quality shone through in the end, but for 70 minutes it was pretty tight. To concede a goal so early but still be a threat in the game was a credit to how we approached it. It’s still disappointing, the players are disappointed about the result and the scoreline. I don’t think we disgraced ourselves tonight, we gave them a good game and they knew they were in a tough game too.”
Pearson recently celebrated his two-year anniversary at the West Country side. His time at City hasn’t always been smooth, and the manager felt the game was proof of how the Robins have progressed over the last 24 months.
“I think it shows you how far we have come. We do have an identity now which is clear and that is we try and play at a good tempo, I didn’t want us to sit off them and give them easy possession. We were at our best when we try and put teams under pressure. It doesn’t mean we didn’t have masses of possession, but I thought we held our own for a long period of the game.
“When you play against the sides that have the quality they do. When you have opportunities you have got to be able to take them. Our half-chances or our opportunities came relatively early in the first half. We were unable to take them. Sam Bell had a chance in the second half at one-nil. The opportunities when you come up against the best sides, it’s so important that you take them.”