Belfast Telegraph

Pearson plots survival mission

Nigel Pearson knows how to pull off a great escape but the Leicester boss insists there are no quick fixes to save the Foxes.

They are bottom of the Barclays Premier League at Christmas ahead of the Boxing Day visit of Tottenham.

Only two sides have ever survived being bottom on December 25 - Sunderland last season and West Brom in 2005.

And Pearson was Bryan Robson's assistant when the Baggies became the first team in Premier League history to survive the traditional relegation.

They stayed up on the final day of the 2004-05 season with the lowest ever points total to beat the drop, 34.

Now, Leicester are winless in 12 games and five points from safety and Pearson insisted they must match the Baggies' ethic and strength to survive.

He said: "You're looking at strength of character and we made additions and key players came in then: Kieran Richardson and Kevin Campbell added to what was a really good group of people who had a common goal and worked exceptionally hard.

"That's always going to be the base line.

"To win things you need those qualities, to avoid relegation you need those qualities. Ability gets you so far, strength of character too, but it's trying to get a balance of the two.

"There is a desire and a willingness to look for the answers. There are no quick fixes in life, well there might be but they don't have enough longevity. It's about winning the next game, as it always has been for us."

Chris Wood is a doubt, Matt Upson is expected to make his return from a foot injury in the new year while Kasper Schmeichel remains out with a broken metatarsal he suffered in training.

Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino is hopeful Ryan Mason will be fit.

The 23-year-old midfielder has established himself in Pochettino's side in recent weeks but was forced off during Saturday's 2-1 win over Burnley with a twisted ankle.

But Pochettino revealed the issue is not as bad as first feared and is now in contention for the game at the King Power Stadium, as is striker Emmanuel Adebayor, who has not featured since early November.

After a shaky start to the campaign, Pochettino now has his side playing some good football and, with a Capital One Cup semi-final against Sheffield United and a Europa League tie against Fiorentina on the horizon, Spurs sit just four points outside the Barclays Premier League's top four.

United States international DeAndre Yedlin will link up with the squad in the new year after a deal was originally struck with his current club Seattle Sounders in August.

But the 21-year-old is likely to be one for the future and, although Pochettino has been linked with a string of central defenders, he insists he would be happy if he is left with his current crop come February 1.

"We have a lot of chats and have I told him all my thoughts," Pochettino said of transfer window discussions with chairman Daniel Levy.

"We have common sense, when the window opens in January we will start to decide but so far we are very happy with our squad.

"I am happy, it's not about if you sign or not. I'm happy here and I'm happy with our squad. I never put pressure (on the chairman).

"We need to understand in football, when you are a head coach you need to try to explain to the chairman, sporting director, my thoughts and advice and then decide the best for the team."


From Belfast Telegraph