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The FA Cup Fourth Round

Pearson upbeat on promotion

Leicester manager Nigel Pearson believes he has a better balanced squad this season to deal with the pressure of challenging for promotion in the Sky Bet Championship.

Last Updated: 29/09/13 at 07:37 Post Comment

Nigel Pearson: Believes his squad is good enough for promotion

Nigel Pearson: Believes his squad is good enough for promotion

Pearson saw his side beat Barnsley 2-1 at the King Power Stadium on Saturday to secure their sixth win in nine games and move to third in the table.

After a frustrating first half for Leicester, David Nugent finally made the breakthrough in the 49th minute drilling home a low shot after being set up by Lloyd Dyer. It was Nugent's fifth goal of the season but his first from open play.

He then increased the lead, hammering home his fifth penalty of the season after Jamie Vardy was brought down by on-loan goalkeeper Jack Butland in the 61st minute.

But Barnsley battled back with substitute Jason Scotland scoring with a 72nd minute header, and it needed a fabulous save by Kasper Schmeichel 10 minutes later to preserve Leicester's unbeaten home record.

Schmeichel threw himself across goal to keep out a header from Barnsley captain Martin Crainie that looked certain to bring an equaliser. Instead, Barnsley suffered a seventh defeat in nine games - their worst start to a season for more than 50 years.

Pearson said: "We negotiated a tough game very well and could have won it by more. It was disappointing to concede a goal but in all honesty the way they set up and their approach to the game, it became clear very early on that it was a damage limitation exercise.

"When you are the home side and have a supposed reputation that we have of possessing attacking players, then it is going to be up to us to break them down.

"I thought we did okay today because ultimately it is about getting points. The good thing for us this year is that if we need to change tactics then we have the players to do it more efficiently than in the past.

"You have to find a way to win games. But we have a better balanced squad and more experience this year. I know we will have some dips this year but I think we are better equipped to deal with them this season that we were last. We are doing okay - a bit better than okay actually."

Barnsley manager David Flitcroft praised the "fighting spirit of his players "and felt they deserved better than finding themselves bottom of the table.

Flitcroft said: "I am not naive enough to think I am not under pressure but I am up for the fight. And so is this group of players. I have seen the first goal from Scott Wiseman that was disallowed and it was about half a yard onside.

"If you go one up against Leicester, it might change the outcome. But certainly there was some fight in the team and some positives to come from the performance. I have got players who can threaten teams and hurt teams. We have come away with another defeat which is disappointing but there was a lot of encouragement from the performance.

"We have had a tough week trying to freshen up the squad and I want to know this group of players are fighting for the football club and for me. And I believe they are."

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