Close-season update from Nigel Pearson
Posted: Saturday, June 12th 2021
Saturday, May 8th 2021
Nigel Pearson says City’s staff and players will honestly assess a disappointing season and that he will demand higher standards for the Robins to be successful.
City’s season ended in a 3-1 defeat to Brentford to bring the curtain down on a disappointing campaign.
And Pearson reflected candidly, telling Robins TV: “I’m sure there will be a sense of relief from many people now the season is over. We can count our lucky stars and be lucky we’ve not been embroiled in that relegation battle because our recent form suggests we should have been in it.
“It’s been a tough season in many ways. We need to address the issues we’ve suffered from: availability of players, the baseline fitness of our squad is not high enough and the games programme made it difficult to make training adaptations. The players are aware of our thoughts as a group and we have to reflect on the season, look at the reasons and make sure the adjustments are made.”
Pearson, who has signed a three-year contract, added: “If we have aspirations to be a successful club then the standards have to be higher and how we operate needs to be slicker, more efficient, so it’s a really big challenge.
“I’m still very optimistic we can shape the club in a very positive way during the summer, both in terms of the transfer window, which is important for us, but we need to make a big adjustment and effect the players who will be staying here. We have some good players, but they haven’t been available for long enough.”
“The close season is our next opportunity to make positive changes. It’s clear having back-to-back seasons without a great deal of pre-season in-between, they’ll need a chance to physically and mentally recover. This is an opportunity for people in the club, both players and staff, to make an important change in how we take the club forward. Rest and recovery is important but there has to be ownership and a shared accountability. These times are where you learn a lot about who’s on board.”
Pearson says there will be a frank assessment of the season, saying: “Honesty is always critical in how you reflect on failures and we shouldn’t shy away from that. It’s been difficult but we have an opportunity to do something about it. There will be changes in the playing staff, among the support staff where we feel are most appropriate and, as I’ve already said before, it’s now the chance for people to make their decision if they’re on the journey or not.”
“I thought in the first half we worked really hard collectively, and I’ve not been able to say that enough recently. I expect it as a given, so to be pleasantly surprised is an improvement on other games but it shows you where we are.
“We were in it for an hour and then it became very one-sided. Their experience, fitness level and quality shone through and we had a lot of young players come the end, but I thought they coped with the situation well and embraced the challenge.”
“For someone like Louis Britton who has had to be patient it’s a great reward for him. There are positives but I’m loathe to give an overly positive angle because it’s about getting results and we’ve failed. We need to assess how we go about learning but also making the adjustments we need to become a more competitive side at this level.
Fans have loyally watched City on Robins TV and Pearson reflected: “I understand the frustration that our fans have, it must be so difficult not to be present at Ashton Gate, to be able to vent their emotions on a matchday. But I think we’re fortunate to have such a loyal following and it’s our responsibility to create something which our fans, when they come back in hopefully for the start of next season, that they enjoy the experience more than this year. It must’ve been painful at times to see the home defeats.
Pearson admits that he is ultimately responsible, saying: “We’ve lost far too many games and I would expect to have to shoulder more criticism than I have. Whether I’m criticised or not I do take the full weight of responsibility for the team because it’s my team. We have to be honest about the situation, we know we’re short compared to where we want to be. Our fans at times must wonder why we’re in the situation we are because of the start we had.
“I want to be part of creating a culture here which has an identity the fans can recognise as something they are supportive of and believe in. That’s not easy but that’s why I do this job. It’s a love-hate relationship in terms of it can eat away at me but I love the challenge of being part of something where there’s an end product that people are proud of.
“Thank you to the club and the fans, let’s see what next year brings.”
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