Nigel Pearson reveals reason to Matty James’ eleventh hour Bristol City withdrawal

Bristol City’s starting XI was changed with just 20 minutes to go before their 3-2 defeat to Sunderland
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Nigel Pearson says that the absence of Matty James was a contributing factor in Bristol City’s 3-2 defeat to Sunderland.

Prior to kick-off, City were dealt a blow when Matty James sustained an injury in the warm-up and was replaced by Han-Noah Massengo.

James had been due to start with central midfield partner Joe Williams in the centre of the park in what was an unchanged team after Zak Vyner recovered from an illness earlier in the week.

The only change of note was due to player-coach Andy King coming in for George Tanner but James’ withdrawal meant that the wing-back was available on standby.

Asked why the former Leicester City midfielder missed out, he said: “I don’t know yet, he’s got a bit of a calf problem, hopefully it’s not too bad.

“That doesn’t help us, I think we missed his quality on the ball today.”

A late personnel change led to an altered game plan with James and Massengo offering different qualities. The French midfielder wasn’t given many starts during pre-season as talks over a new contract remain at a stalemate.

The 21-year-old was thrown in just before kick off and had to contend with dealing with Corry Evans, who left a crunching tackle on him early doors.

James is a more accomplished midfielder with an emphasis on defence whilst Massengo is still finding his feet in the team.

“It’s hard to argue that when the goals we conceded were just poor defensive goals,” In responded Person when asked whether James’ defensive attributes were missed.

“We’ve dominated possession today and we’re not really a possession based time. We’ve had around 60% and we’ve dominated but not been able to do enough with it.

“I still think we created enough to get something out of the game but unfortunately we scored two goals at home and we haven’t got anything. The big thing for us is our defensive frailty and that’s the problem.”