Pearson ‘detached’ from Leicester glory

19 Aug

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Nigel Pearson: Pearson: Leicester City departure ‘a big shock’

Former Leicester manager Nigel Pearson says he felt proud but “very detached” when they won the Premier League.

He said it was a “big shock” to be sacked in June 2015 by the Foxes, who won their first top-flight title under Claudio Ranieri last season.

Pearson, in charge at Championship club Derby County since May, says he found being out of the game tough at times.

“They’ve gone on and achieved something that really, in the modern game, is impossible,” he told Football Focus.

“I’m delighted for the players and the staff there.”

However, he added: “I felt pride – but I was very detached, actually.”

Leicester became English champions for the first time in their 132-year history, finishing 10 points ahead of second-placed Arsenal – and they won the league having been 5,000-1 outsiders with many bookmakers at the start of the season.

“It’s a great story for football,” added Pearson. “It’s a bit like the Olympic stories, where there’s this real interest in sport for sport’s sake, rather than for the financial side of it, and some of the other stories that go with high-profile sport.

“Leicester will have earned a lot of new fans over the last 12 months in particular – and it’s really made a brand new story.”

‘Leaving Leicester was a big shock’

Nigel Pearson and Jamie Vardy<!–

Nigel Pearson was Leicester’s manager when Jamie Vardy signed for the club in 2012

Pearson has had two spells as Leicester manager, with his second coming to an end shortly after he had guided the club to Premier League safety with a run of eight wins in their final 10 matches.

But he was also involved in several high-profile incidents, including calling a journalist an “ostrich” and clashing with Crystal Palace midfielder James McArthur on the touchline during a match.

Leicester said at the time of the sacking that their working relationship with Pearson was “no longer viable”.

“It came as a big shock,” Pearson said. “Some people say: ‘Maybe you shouldn’t be shocked.’ But it came as a bit of a shock. A lot of a shock.

“And the timing, of course, is not great timing, really – just when pre-season is about to start. That happens in life sometimes.

“I’m talking about it now, and really, it’s something I’m not overly fussed about talking about any more.

“It’s a situation that has been dealt with over a period of time by myself and the family. We’re all fine and we’re all healthy – and we’ve moved on.”

‘Sometimes it was very, very difficult’

Pearson, 52, spent 11 months out of football before being appointed by Derby and he says he had not intended to take a full season’s break when he left Leicester.

He said: “It was a break which I clearly didn’t plan for, and I certainly wouldn’t have expected to have been out for as long as I was, but there we are.

“I enjoyed certain parts of it, and other parts I found very, very difficult.

“Football’s a very fickle industry in many ways in terms of how people perceive you, and whether you’re thought to be the right person for jobs.

“There’s a lot of very cheap talk around. I just tried to distance myself from all of that, really. It was an interesting year in many ways. I’d not been out of work for a while, and the circumstances of being out of work were not something that I particularly enjoyed.”

‘I did not knock back Villa for Derby’

Nigel Pearson<!–

Nigel Pearson earned his first league victory as Derby manager at Preston on Tuesday

Derby are 16th in the Championship after three matches under Pearson and play Aston Villa on Saturday, a club who were interested in appointing him as manager following their relegation from the Premier League at the end of last season.

Pearson said in June that he had held talks with Steve Hollis and Randy Lerner, then the club’s chairman and owner respectively.

However, he has indicated that he did not reject Villa in order to join Derby.

Pearson said: “There was no crossover between the Aston Villa and the Derby situations.

“I’m always very wary of the types of stories where it’s said you trade one off for the other and it’s comparative. It didn’t happen like that.

“The negotiation that went on, went on. It didn’t happen. Then this opportunity came along and it did materialise – and I’m delighted that I’m here.”

See Derby manager Nigel Pearson’s interview with Mark Clemmit on Football Focus this Saturday at 12:15 BST on BBC One.

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