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James Crawley

James Crawley writes

Posted Monday, August 2nd 2021

Pearson pleased as City complete pre-season

Nigel Pearson is looking forward to a positive start to the new season with supporters set to pack out Ashton Gate on Saturday.

The visit of Aston Villa to BS3 at the weekend gone wrapped up City’s pre-season schedule and the Robins manager is pleased with how the last few weeks have panned out.

It’s been a gruelling period of fitness, tactical work and game preparation, with six tests against opposition in-between a five-day training camp at Loughborough University.

City suffered defeat to Villa on Saturday, despite a strong second half display and three penalty appeals all waved away. Fans were back too and now City have a week to continue their preparations ahead of the Championship opener against newly-promoted Blackpool.

Watch: Nigel Pearson in Robins TV

Reflecting on the Villa match, Pearson felt there was plenty of encouragement as he told Robins TV: “Generally speaking - as I’ve told the players - we’ve had a good preseason: our fitness levels are good, the minutes in the players are pretty even and we know where the players are at.

“I thought, playing against a Premier League side, that they were better in both boxes, we were a bit tentative in the first half so it wasn’t the afternoon we wanted. In the second half there were some positives but again we’ve created opportunities but not put them away and we’ve been punished. That’s the gulf between the two divisions (the Premier League and the Championship).”

A total of 7,589 City supporters took their seats to watch the match, the first game at Ashton Gate to be played with supporters since March 2020. For Pearson, it was a welcomed return to normality.

“Next week it’s about creating an atmosphere here. It was really good to get the fans in today and hopefully next week there will be a really big crowd. It’s about getting the campaign off to a positive start next week.

“It was really good to get the matchday feel back. Even when you arrive to have people outside getting ready for the game it brings us back into the mode of what a matchday should feel like. It was a good run out for us, it helps individuals to focus on where they need to be in games, there were good things today but it's disappointing to conceded three goals in the fashion we did.

“They were not avoidable but soft goals to concede. It would have been nice to get something at the other end.”

He added: “We need to always be at our best in games. Whether we gave them too much respect or waited to see how it panned out, but we weren’t on the front foot for long enough periods today.”

City v Blackpool kicks off the 2021/22 campaign next Saturday (August 7th, 3pm KO). Match tickets are still available.

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