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‘Players looked shellshocked’ – Pearson

Nigel Pearson explained where City went wrong on Sunday, after his side threw away their half-time lead in a 3-2 defeat to Luton Town.

Pearson said his players appeared “shellshocked” after Nahki Wells and Ádám Nagy’s first-half goals were cancelled out by Luton’s comeback.

🎥 Watch: Pearson post-Luton Town (H)

When asked what happened to his team at Ashton Gate, Pearson told Robins TV: “What normally happens with this group at the moment - we lacked the authority on the pitch, character and charisma to do things out there that enable us to stay in front.

“I’ve seen all three goals back and they’re terrible goals to concede. Having worked so hard to get in front and play some decent football, we submitted too early and didn’t show the character traits you need to endure tough times in games.”

 

He said: "Our players looked totally shellshocked but the problems run slightly deeper than the players not dealing with the situation today. We have organisational challenges in regard to how we shape the club moving forward and today smacked of lacking shared accountability."

There was praise for the younger players, notably starter Tommy Conway, Han-Noah Massengo and Alex Scott was handed his Robins debut after coming off the bench.

But Pearson explained he is concerned what impact the negative run will have on those younger players but he hailed them for their efforts.

“That’s an extremely annoying state of affairs for us on a day where Tommy Conway was an exceptional youngster going in there. You can always rely on Han-Noah Massengo to run himself into the floor and Alex Scott got his debut as well; I don’t want this to be a damaging experience for them but we have to stick with them at the moment. I’m worried what this will do to the youngsters who are relying constantly to perform for us. It shows where we are, what’s exactly required in terms of refreshing this group.

“There are concerns what this will do to them but what I will say is I will do everything to protect those players because they don’t get an awful lot of help on the field. We have a group of players who do not communicate on the pitch and that’s incredible really.”

It wasn’t just communication, but the players being unable to manage the situation as it unfolded as the Hatters battled back.

“It frustrates me, I understand it but I find it difficult to accept we don’t fight harder collectively, to do something about setbacks,” Pearson continued.

“We hope they don’t occur and that in itself brings on pressure. We outplayed them in the first half, they couldn’t deal with us, they were a bit miffed with the disallowed goal but apart from conceding three terrible goals they didn’t have to do a lot to earn the opportunity to score those goals and that’s the worrying thing.

“It feels at this moment like everybody here can’t wait for the end of the season and that’s poor. In one sense we need to get to the end to start doing what needs to be done. In the short term we need to fulfil the fixtures. I will keep banging the same drum by saying we need to respond, and we can’t respond just for 45 minutes and then fold because we struggle to create an identity.

“It’s painful to experience and I’m sure it’s painful for people to watch after we promise so much and then not deliver. The reality is we take the problem head on, try to solve it but there’s no point hiding from the reality of where we are is miles away from where we aspire to be.

“We have far too many players unavailable because they are injured, we rely on young players where it is a big ask for them to perform at this level while under pressure. I applaud how they’ve embraced the challenge and it’s good to expose them and creating technically gifted players around the first team.

“In an ideal world you choose the moments to include them, but we have a lot of players who are suffering on the field and the group’s mentality is not strong enough to deal with that problem. It’s something I’m keen to at least put things in place to help that moving forward but we have to finish the season first.”

City are back in action on Saturday when they travel to face Millwall (3pm KO) in the penultimate game of the campaign, live on Robins TV from 2.30pm. 

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