Belfast Telegraph

Pearson: Leicester were lucky

Nigel Pearson admits his Leicester side needed a sizeable slice of luck to end their long winless streak in the Barclays Premier League.

The Foxes had not won any of their previous 13 matches, dating back to their stunning 5-3 success over Manchester United in September, but saw off Hull 1-0 thanks to Riyad Mahrez's first-half strike.

Yet how they maintained a clean sheet is anyone's guess as the Tigers ramped up the pressure and laid siege to the away goal in the final 20 minutes.

Hull finished with 18 attempts, two goal line clearances with a hint of handball, two efforts against the base of the post from Jake Livermore and Abel Hernandez and a couple of point-blank misses for good measure.

Asked for his reaction, the under-pressure Pearson said: "Relief. It's got to be.

"It was a big game. From our own perspective losing today would have meant really losing touch.

"There's no doubt that Hull would probably win more games than draw or lose if they put teams under that sort of pressure, but we know that feeling ourselves.

"You need a bit of luck from time to time and we've certainly not had that in may games in this long run of ours.

"We have had really good performances that have yielded no points but here had to show different qualities.

"The ones we showed today are the ones we will need from here on in - that desire to keep the ball out of the net, that commitment."

"There is an art of defending you know," he said.

"Everybody wants to see silky skills and nice football and I'm no different, I like to see my team playing well.

"But let's not underplay the art of defending. I think plenty of players out there, on both sides, were doing that."

Pearson's opposite number Steve Bruce had billed the game as bigger than Hull's FA Cup final appearance last season and was ultimately forced to swallow the same sinking feeling as he had at Wembley.

Now, instead of opening up a nine-point buffer on Leicester, Hull are just three clear of the bottom riders and level with Burnley and Crystal Palace.

"If we'd have won this to go nine ahead of Leicester at the halfway stage, that takes a lot of clawing back," Bruce said.

"In terms of magnitude it would have been a huge one. But it's gone against us, given them a lifeline and it's all to play for in the second part of the season."

Reflecting on his side's unsuccessful late siege, Bruce was incredulous.

"We've been in the Premier League 18 months and I can't remember having so many chances in a game, not at this level," he said.

"But you have to score. Whether we got unlucky or should be scoring I don't know.

"When you get beat fair and square, fine. When you don't deserve it, like this, of course it leaves a bad taste.

"All the good work we did by beating Sunderland has unravelled a bit unfortunately."

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