LEICESTER manager Nigel Pearson publicly apologised for labelling a reporter “an ostrich” yesterday but refused to back down over claims his team have been unfairly criticised.
Pearson told the journalist he ridiculed after Wednesday night’s defeat to Chelsea that he had been upset by the result but had “stepped out of line”.
“Before we start, apologies for last night,” he told Ian Baker, a reporter for agency Wardles. “I think it’s right to do it in front of the cameras rather than pulling you to one side so I apologise for that and I hope it doesn’t ruin our relationship.
“I react – that’s it. I think it’s emotion as much as anything which again I am not afraid of. I’m not afraid of showing my emotions. I get labelled with certain titles which is people’s prerogative to say what they want about me and I’m happy to fight my own corner.”
Pearson’s outburst less than 24 hours earlier came as he argued that his players had been unfairly criticised during their battle to stay in the Premier League. They currently sit 17th. Baker asked the Foxes boss to elaborate.
“If you don’t know the answer to that question then I think you are an ostrich,” Pearson said. “Your head must be in the sand. Is your head in the sand? Are you flexible enough to get your head in the sand? My suspicion would be ‘no’. I can; you can’t.”
It was the latest in a series of storms to engulf Pearson this term, including rows with fans and a touchline scuffle with Crystal Palace’s James McArthur that prompted rumours he would be sacked. He refused to specify his grievances yesterday when he faced the media to discuss tomorrow’s fixture against Newcastle but maintained – in a tetchy exchange – that he would not back down.
“I said that there had been criticisms and I will always stick up for my players,” he said.
“I think we’ve come in for some criticism and so have I when I think it’s unfair.”
PEARSON RAP SHEET
■ December: Gets £10,000 fine and a ban for telling fan to “f*** off and die”
■ February: Grapples with opposition player on touchline; says pundits are “making a mountain out of a molehill”
■ March: Mutters foul-mouthed insult at a reporter who asks if Leicester’s season is “waxing or waning”
■ April: Calls journalist “an ostrich” and “stupid” after defeat to Chelsea