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Pearson pulls no punches

Manager Nigel Pearson sent out a strong message to the squad after a disappointing 2-0 defeat at home to Stoke City.

The Robins are unbeaten in their last four away games (W3, D1) as they now prepare for Easter Monday’s trip to Coventry City (April 5th, 3pm KO), but it’s at home where City are struggling.

The Potters ran out 2-0 winners at Ashton Gate on Good Friday through goals from Nick Powell and Steven Fletcher. The Robins lacked flair and going forward only Antoine Semenyo could force the opposition goalkeeper into one save throughout the 90 minutes.

The result means City are without a home win in their last seven league games but Pearson continues to drive forward to find a solution to the Robins’ conundrum.

🎥 Watch: Pearson assesses Stoke City defeat

“It’s a bit of a reoccurring nightmare – that’s the best way of putting it,” the City manager told Robins TV. “It’s a disappointing result but we have to do more. I would rather us fail by being more positive.

“I thought today at times we took too long, I don’t think Dan (Bentley) has had too many saves and we end up losing 2-0. It’s a very frustrating situation for us and looking forward we have to change a few things.

“I don’t like to admit it but I can’t disagree with that as a summary of today,” he added when asked if the game passed them by. “At times we were waiting for someone else to start us off and you can’t go into the game and be below par in so many areas.”

The performance of Han-Noah Massengo did catch Pearson’s eye and he was quick to highlight the positive display of the teenage midfielder.

“If we had a few more Han-Noah’s out there, in terms of a desire to make things happen, we’d be a lot better. I don’t normally do this but he represents what I look for in players. They get a chance in the side and they do everything they can, not just to secure their place but to improve as well so he’s a really good example of that. In another difficult afternoon he was a real bright spark.

“We need to respond from this but it’s complexing how we can fail to perform at our own stadium, a great place and it’s a difficult question to answer at the moment.

“I think the longer the situation goes on the more we talk about it and maybe it’s more a collective anxiety of being able to deal with disappointment when it happens. That’s something which is not straight forward to put right but my way of looking at it is working to find the solutions.”

City now have seven matches remaining of the 2020/21 Sky Bet Championship season, starting with the away fixture against Coventry City, and Pearson has sent a strong message to his squad.

He said: “I’m not a big believer in hitting people for the sake of it, it’s about finding solutions, finding the answers and if there are casualties along the way then so be it. I don’t worry too much about that, we’re at a point in the season where I find out who’s here for the long run. I don’t want to continue persevering with people who have had plenty of chances. We have young players waiting in the wings and I won’t be afraid to use them.”

One of those players was striker Sam Bell, as the Academy graduate earned his first start in City colours. However, he was substituted after taking a knock in the 14th minute – now confirmed as a hamstring injury - and Pearson was frustrated with another injury in the camp.

He said: “He’s done so well in training, he’s looked really explosive and I can’t give an answer as to why we’ve picked up so many injuries. We’re certainly not robust enough and we have to work on that moving forward, so it’s another challenge but we’ll deal with it.”

City take on the Sky Blues at St Andrew’s Stadium on Monday, live on Robins TV with supporters able to tune into the matchday show at 2.30pm.

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