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Pearson's Premier League ambition

Nigel Pearson believes City can make history over the next three years as he aims to take the club to the Premier League for the first time.

Pearson has signed a contract extension through to the end of the 2023/24 season and, while he admits it will be a difficult journey, he is targeting City’s promotion from the Sky Bet Championship.

It’s been a disappointing 2020/21 campaign but, with Pearson committing his future to the Robins, the work now begins to push the club on as they aim for top-flight football for the first time since 1980.

Pearson told Robins TV: “I’m just delighted to be here. This season’s finishing with a whimper and it’s disappointing but, having said that, I’m already in planning mode looking at the possibilities. Whatever we think of this season in terms of how it’s finishing, the most important thing is our desire to push the club on to a different level.

“I don’t think there’s any reason not to think about the possibility of becoming a Premier League side but we’ve got to be very clear as to what that journey looks like. At the moment we have to deal with the present which is understanding where we are and what we need to do to become a Premier League club.”

He continued: “I’ve always had a lot of admiration for Bristol City but in many ways it’s a conundrum as to why the club remains in the Championship. I do think it’s a really fabulous opportunity for us all to try and at least create a very positive culture in the club to allow us to develop on the field – that’s the most important thing.”

Pearson says he wants to build a winning mentality and culture among the squad and the staff as he looks to galvanise the group. Taking ownership and responsibility is also key with the current season coming to an end and the 2021/22 campaign on the horizon.

He said: “It doesn’t happen overnight and it’s important everyone has ownership of what we do. I don’t see enough of it at the moment, and I think the playing squad has to have an ownership of what we’re trying to achieve.

“We’ve not quite got that right but I’m happy to put my head on the block because I want to be responsible for what happens on the field. It’s important to set the scene and to make sure everyone knows where they sit in terms of their roles and responsibilities in creating a winning culture – that’s what it’s all about; a winning culture in which everyone understands their role and has a positive input.

“We have a good starting point now, looking to next season it’s important how we continue to develop the squad in order to get the foundations right to have a real impact to move the squad forward. I’ve signed for three years, that’s a realistic timescale to get there but of course we want to get there earlier.”

Pearson is excited for the task at hand but he recognises it will be a challenging road in the current climate.

“It is going to be interesting but it’s important to recognise that we won’t be signing lots of players. It’s important to be clear we need to build the foundations in this window. We won’t be able to totally change how the squad looks and the reason for that is we have a number of good players who are not currently available,” he said.

“Football has gone through a very challenging 15 months and we’re very fortunate at Bristol City with our financial foundations and how we are structured is a really good base to work from. It’s important we don’t have this feeling that everything will change in one hit, it won’t be like that and we’ll have to be creative in how we improve the squad.

“I do think there’s a big scope to improve the current squad we have but people need to have a realistic handle of what developing a squad looks like. First and foremost, we need to get the best from what we have. I admit this season has been a frustration because with the players we have, we have underachieved. I believe in giving people an opportunity to come along on the journey and if they don’t want to be on the journey then they can go, it’s as simple as that.

“I want to be a part of a team that gets to the Premier League. I’m not kidding myself - it will be tough but I don’t see any reason not to be very clear in setting out that target. It’s like the elephant in the room; everyone thinks about the club’s status, but we need to put our heads on the blocks and say we’re going to get there in a certain amount of time. Whether that happens or not is another thing but, first and foremost, we have to have a clear objective and that’s to get to the Premier League.

“Where we are and how we’re performing at the moment, we’re a long way off that. It’s not a straightforward challenge and I don’t want to make hollow promises or make it sound as if it’s an easy journey because it won’t be. There will be casualties and disappointments along the way.

“Our run of form is unacceptable so for me to sit here having signed a contract for three years… the club has shown a lot of faith in me while the results have been terrible. What it shows you is there is a shared vision of what we’re looking for but also how we intend to at least attempt to achieve the dream of being a Premier League side.”

Premier League target

“It is going to be interesting but it’s important to recognise that we won’t be signing lots of players. It’s important to be clear we need to build the foundations in this window. We won’t be able to totally change how the squad looks and the reason for that is we have a number of good players who are not currently available,” he said.

“Football has gone through a very challenging 15 months and we’re very fortunate that at Bristol City, with our financial foundations and how we are structured, it's a really good base to work from. It’s important we don’t have this feeling that everything will change in one hit, it won’t be like that and we’ll have to be creative in how we improve the squad.

“I do think there’s a big scope to improve the current squad we have but people need to have a realistic handle of what developing a squad looks like. First and foremost, we need to get the best from what we have. I admit this season has been a frustration because with the players we have, we have underachieved. I believe in giving people an opportunity to come along on the journey and if they don’t want to be on the journey then they can go, it’s as simple as that.

“I want to be a part of a team that gets to the Premier League. I’m not kidding myself - it will be tough but I don’t see any reason not to be very clear in setting out that target. It’s like the elephant in the room; everyone thinks about the club’s status, but we need to put our heads on the blocks and say we’re going to get there in a certain amount of time. Whether that happens or not is another thing but, first and foremost, we have to have a clear objective and that’s to get to the Premier League.

“Where we are and how we’re performing at the moment, we’re a long way off that. It’s not a straightforward challenge and I don’t want to make hollow promises or make it sound as if it’s an easy journey because it won’t be. There will be casualties and disappointments along the way.

“Our run of form is unacceptable so for me to sit here having signed a contract for three years… the club has shown a lot of faith in me while the results have been terrible. What it shows you is there is a shared vision of what we’re looking for but also how we intend to at least attempt to achieve the dream of being a Premier League side.”

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