Nigel Pearson countering critics with consistency

Are the Foxes back to winning ways?

Leicester City’s fourth successive Championship victory has come amidst real doubt over the future of Nigel Pearson.  Recent rumours arising that the Raksriaksorns have former Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp in line to succeed Pearson have done nothing but bring an air of concern, tension and instability to the King Power Stadium.  Prior to this, suggestions of behind-the-scenes bust-ups between the manager and players who haven’t featured in the side for several weeks (some have gone out on short-term loans) have given critics the impression that Nigel Pearson has lost the dressing room.  In the opening nine games of the season, a fair assessment of Leicester City would be solid, albeit unspectacular.  A lack of consistency has plagued some away performances, but back-to-back wins has the Foxes in the automatic promotion places at the beginning of October.  Two weeks ago, many fans were calling for the manager’s head, claiming that the club were no better off now than they were before Nigel Pearson made his return toward the end of 2011.

The Championship is highly unpredictable.  It would be fair to say that at this point in the season, there are no teams which any objective writer could say are head and shoulders above the rest in the division.  Cardiff City, like Leicester, have won six of their first nine games (impressive, but not a mind-blowing record).  So, why is it that grass always seems greener to Foxes fans?  That the next new manager could win promotion, or the unused substitute is the game-changer?

Nigel Pearson is a well-respected manager, and person, among his peers.  Very rarely is a bad word said about him in the footballing world.  His calm and pragmatic demeanour may be hit-and-miss with journalists and may never make him that much of a character in post-game interviews, but his unwillingness to be fazed by concern that the owners have lined up his replacement, or by rumours that he is just one bad result away from losing his job, speaks volumes of his character.  More importantly, Leicester fans should know that the revolving-door to the managerial hot-seat in recent years has very rarely resulted in anything positive (it should be remembered that during his first two seasons with the club, Pearson almost achieved back-to-back promotions).  Those who critique him are not managers, yet they are the first to complain when something isn’t working, and those who circulate rumours are the least likely to fully understand the goings-on behind the scenes.

Other sides in this division would love the type of consistency being installed at Leicester City.  Recent performances suggest that Nigel Pearson is picking a side not only that he thinks can win games, but picking the players who have shown that they want to be a part of that.  Martyn Waghorn has enjoyed a lot more playing time recently, as has formerly out-of-favour centre-back Sean St. Ledger.  Both have been impressive.  Even if the result doesn’t go our way, it’d be difficult to pick out anyone who hasn’t given everything when given that opportunity – and left everything on the pitch at the final whistle.  That’s the team being put together here; one that never quits. 

Perhaps, this season, we should all have a little more faith.