11 February 2023

Nigel Pearson: The future is looking brighter for Bristol City

11 February 2023

Nigel Pearson believes Bristol City fans now have “a team to take pride in” after seeing his improving side extend their unbeaten run to nine games in all competitions.

Mark Sykes scored the only goal as Pearson’s side beat Norwich 1-0, leaving them seven points off the play-off places in the Championship.

It was the first time the Robins had beaten the Canaries since 2009, a run of 11 games, and they earned the success with a performance of huge energy and commitment.

Pearson, who was under intense pressure before Christmas, said: “What impresses me most about our current form is the collective determination to keep the ball out of our net.

“It was a good performance against tough opponents. We now have a team our fans can take pride in because of the effort they put in and the future is looking brighter for the club.

“I don’t think about the play-offs. All I am concerned with is winning the next match and how we can get the best out of the players at any given time.

“We have created some momentum after a run of games, which had brought some criticism. Now we have to keep heads down and continue working hard.

“There will be setbacks in a league as competitive as the Championship, but as long as we keep aspiring to the standards that we have set I will be happy.

“I think supporters are recognising the spirit among the players and their willingness to work hard.

“It’s not so long since we had a bench packed with young untried players. Now the team is full of academy products and there is a lot of experience among the substitutes.”

Norwich have suffered back-to-back defeats and sit four points off the play-off places.

Boss David Wagner said: “It was a disappointing result, but we deserved it because of a poor first-half display.

“We started slowly, took too many touches, moved the ball too slowly and played too many square passes.

“The second half was better, with greater intensity to our play, but even then we didn’t create enough chances from the amount of possession we had.

“It has to be part of our development to make more forward passes and use the ball quicker to make openings. That’s a message I am trying to get across.

“I felt there was a foul in the build-up to their goal and we had one ruled out near the end for what was a very close offside decision.

“But there are no excuses. There is a lot of work to do to ensure we play consistently with the necessary intensity.

“Our substitutes helped achieve it today, but I was not happy with the way we played in the first half.

“The overall performance was not good enough to deserve anything from the game.

“Now we have a home game on Tuesday night (against Hull) and must ensure that Carrow Road is an unpleasant place for opponents to visit.”

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