‘Weakest point’: Nigel Pearson opens on Bristol City future amid growing pressure over job

The 59-year-old assesses his future at Bristol City - and if he has sought assurances
Bristol City and Nigel Pearson have struggled this season. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)Bristol City and Nigel Pearson have struggled this season. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
Bristol City and Nigel Pearson have struggled this season. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Nigel Pearson says he is at the weakest point of his tenure but that Bristol City is in its strongest position. The 59-year-old’s future has come under the spotlight in recent weeks and in the Robins’ last home game, a 2-0 defeat to West Brom on Boxing Day, a section of supporters called for his departure.

City have since bounced back from their defeat and have secured draws against Millwall and Coventry City, and had opportunities to win both. The short story though is the team is currently struggling in the Championship, and are just three points above the relegation zone.

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In pre-season, the goal was to be in the mix for the play-offs, but they are a whole ten points off of sixth-placed Millwall, and have struggled to recapture the early form which served them well in the first quarter of the campaign. As a result, the mood amongst the fan base has changed with the threat of relegation looming over them if things do not improve shortly.

With their current struggles, Pearson finds himself at what he describes as his ‘weakest point’ since taking over almost two years ago. The former Leicester City manager however has kept the club competitive, despite an overhaul of the playing squad, with the wage bill slashed, and an emphasis on opportunities for academy players.

"We hope that our fans are behind the team," he said. "I accept that there is a lot more pressure on me but that’s football management for you.

"I’m possibly at the weakest point that I’ve been in since I’ve been at the club but conversely and rather ironically, the club is in its strongest position since I’ve been at the club so make of that what you will.

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"It’s a part of football management. Pressure is a part of it. Criticism is a part of it. What you have to do is just make sure it doesn’t affect how you prepare the players because it’s about the players on a matchday."

Sunday’s FA Cup clash with Swansea City is the first of three consecutive home matches at Ashton Gate, where there is an expectation to win more than away matches. City have not won in front of their home supporters since mid-October and a result against the Welsh side could slightly relieve pressure.

"I hope we can provide our fans with a win for them to get them into a more optimistic frame of mind," Pearson said. I understand the frustrations of course I do but my job is so to keep trying to do what I’ve been brought in to do and that is to change quite a few things but I fully accept we need to win more games. It’s as simple as that.

Some managers seek a public vote of confidence from the higher ups but there is transparency between the manager and board over his immediate future that should see the former Watford boss continue. Pearson has remained in constant dialogue with departing CEO Richard Gould, who departs after the conclusion of the transfer window.

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"I don’t need to speak to the board," Pearson said. "I know what my job is. I speak to Richard (Gould) every day. Most clubs I’ve been at, it’s not about speaking to the board. They’ll do what they want to do. My job is to continue to work with the team, it’s quite straightforward in my eyes."

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