Nigel Pearson hails Jamie Vardy after unhappy Leicester return
The veteran striker scored the only goal as the Foxes beat Bristol City 1-0.
Bristol City manager Nigel Pearson believes Jamie Vardy’s winning mentality at the latter stages of his career is something that should be recognised.
Vardy, 36, made sure there would be no celebration for Pearson, who made his first return to Leicester City since being sacked in 2015.
The Leicester striker scored from the penalty spot in the 67th minute, after Wilfred Ndidi had been brought down by Kai Naismith, to secure a 1-0 victory which put Enzo Maresca’s side back on top of the Championship table.
It was Pearson who started Vardy’s King Power career 11 years ago when he made the striker the first £1million non-league player, moving from Fleetwood Town in 2012.
Vardy was the only player left in Leicester’s starting line-up from Pearson’s spell in charge.
“Whatever people think of Jamie, to still have the winning mentality he has at this stage of his career, is something that we should acknowledge,” said Pearson.
“Players like that bring qualities and standards, which you need to nurture. So to still have Jamie Vardy at Leicester is going to be a very important factor.”
Despite the result, Pearson admitted he was touched by the reception he received at the King Power Stadium.
“I can’t deny I had tears in my eyes, because it’s really good to see people again,” said Pearson, who attended the game on crutches due to a back problem.
“It means a lot. My family were here, my dad too because he used to love coming here and then going out for a smoke at half-time!
“He’s 89, I’ve got my grandchildren as well. It was a big part of our lives and it’s very touching to receive the respect I got shown. A nice story, but we still lost.”
Leicester made it three wins in successive games with a seventh league victory of the season.
This was also the first time since last October they had recorded a clean sheet at home in a league game.
“We struggled to find a goal but I was absolutely not worried because since minute one we created chances,” said Maresca.
“It was a good win. The only thing I asked them for the second half was to continue in the same way because we were good in the first half, we just missed a goal.
“Continuing the way we were playing for sure we would create more chances, and we won the game. If we continue to play in the way we play today, it’s good.”
Maresca admitted he wanted to gee the home supporters up when Leicester were trying to break down the Robins’ defence.
“It was the moment where the team was making a big effort – we needed a plus,” he added.
“We needed a little bit more. The idea was not to convince the fans, but to get them more with us because it was the right momentum to score the goal. The fans were brilliant today.
“This win was especially important because after two wins away against two important teams, you cannot relax. But this was a tricky game so I am happy with the performance. The players showed how professional and how serious they are working.”