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Players’ chance to ‘show what they are about’ - Pearson

Nigel Pearson has stressed the need for a better performance and intent from his players as he looks for City to be more positive in their final game of the season.

His squad are preparing for Saturday’s match against Brentford as the curtain closes on the Robins’ 2020/21 campaign.

The sides meet in differing form with the Bees looking ahead to this season’s play-offs, while much has been written of City’s poor run of results in recent months.

The last of those was a 4-1 defeat at Millwall last weekend but manager Pearson has a final opportunity to get a reaction from his players.

He told Robins TV: “We’ve got to deal with the game itself. After the last few games, with how things have shaped up, we are disappointed and through this week there’s an element of looking to the future, but my priority is definitely to make sure we perform better and show better intent than last week. The fallout from last week’s game is a difficult thing to front up.”

When asked about the importance of finishing the campaign with a good performance, Pearson said: “It’s what we need but whether we get it or not is difficult at the moment.”

He continued: “The bottom line is that we have to produce every time we play. The intent and the work-rate and effort has not always been evident. That’s not a sweeping statement of everybody but we’re in a situation where there’s been uncertainty, collectively we’ve not dealt with the situation as required so it’s something else to work at.

“Let’s keep perspective, it’s about making sure we get ourselves right for the game. It doesn’t matter about tactics if we don’t go and show the human qualities that we need. On top of that, we’re playing against a very good side anyway so the selection this week will reflect players who I think will bring positivity and are in a better place themselves.”

Criticism comes with sport and City have been subject to it this season with a bottom half finish guaranteed this season, but Pearson says it’s about how the players respond now and in the future.

“Let’s remember players sometime have to deal with their own demons or self-doubts and we have a number of players out of form,” he said.

“Most of the players have really struggled but they’ve applied themselves as well as they can, but we’ve fallen way short. It’s how we deal with it in the moment, but we have to deal with it moving forward too.

“They are professional so if nothing else there has to be a personal, individual drive to answer criticism, but also, the basic necessity of being in a team sport is. you have to be able to perform under pressure, have an understanding of how you perform when things aren’t the way you want them to be.

“We know where we are, we know the situation and I’ll never kid myself about that but we have a very tough game against Brentford who’ve had a good season. They have a top scorer but I also think it’s an opportunity for players to show what they’re about.”

For Pearson, it’s not just about the opportunity of a matchday but the way the players behave and carry themselves in the week – setting the standards at the Robins High Performance Centre

This has been an important week therefore, with the final outing fast approaching. He continued: “Every day is an opportunity. Matchdays are the most obvious because when the team takes to the field it’s open for people to see it…being on the journey is about the day-to-day behaviours, standards and willingness to do things that are not always natural to you or high on your list of strengths.

“I’ve talked about ownership and that’s really key to how we move this club forward. But it’s a very interesting subject. We do judge on performances but also the real proof of people’s desire to be involved in the longer-term journey is the standards, beliefs and values they perform on a daily basis in terms as professional footballers and people to. There’s always opportunities to change and I believe in people having opportunities, but they have to take it.”

City v Brentford, with Rene Gilmartin as guest and co-commentator, will be streamed live on Robins TV from 12pm for all the build-up ahead of kick-off.

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