Pearson’s Leicester future unclear amid speculation
LEICESTER, England (AP) — Nigel Pearson’s future as Leicester manager remained uncertain Monday amid speculation that his job with the Premier League’s last-place team was in jeopardy.
Pearson said he has had “conversations” with the club’s board and that his focus is on the team’s league game at Arsenal on Tuesday, following reports in the British media on Sunday that he had been fired.
“I am, today, managing this club as I have been for the last three and three-quarter years, and I am looking to try to get my team as best prepared as possible for a big game against Arsenal,” Pearson said at a pre-match news conference.
He added that he had “loyalties to the people I work for, my staff and the players” and did not want to speak more about his future.
Leicester released a statement late Sunday, saying Pearson was still manager and was “entirely focused” on Tuesday’s game.
“I always have a very good working relationship with the owners and I’m sure I will, moving forward,” Pearson said.
“In an ideal world, I would rather the story not be out there. I had an interesting Sunday.”
Leicester is owned by Thai businessman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.
Pearson is also under scrutiny following a bizarre incident during Leicester’s 1-0 loss to Crystal Palace Saturday when he placed his hands round the neck of Palace midfielder James McArthur in a touchline confrontation. McArthur had slid off the pitch into the technical area and collided with Pearson.
“I got a bit scared, to be honest,” McArthur told local newspaper The Croydon Advertiser. “These things happen and you see it quite a lot with managers and players throughout the game so I’m not bothered by it.
“I’ve collided into him and he said it was only a joke. So, I’ll take it in that manner and we move on.”
Leicester is four points adrift of safety with 14 games left of the league campaign.