Early changes hurt us - Pearson

Topics

Having to make two forced substitutions in the first 25 minutes hurt Leicester City against Chelsea, manager Nigel Pearson said.

Leicester City boss Nigel Pearson bemoaned bad luck after his side's superb winning run came to an end with a 3-1 home defeat to Chelsea on Wednesday.

Leicester had won four games in a row to climb out of the relegation zone they had occupied since November but found champions-elect Chelsea - who can win the Premier League with success against Crystal Palace on Sunday - in inspired form after half-time.

Pearson's side controlled the first 45 minutes and deservedly led at the break through Marc Albrighton's first Premier League goal since 2011, but Didier Drogba, John Terry and Ramires all netted in the second half to give Chelsea an excellent win.

Leicester's cause was not helped by the fact midfielder Andy King - in his 300th appearance for the club - and defender Robert Huth were forced off in the first 25 minutes through injuries, and while Pearson acknowledged Chelsea were the better side, he said the forced early changes had an impact.

"It is difficult when you have to make a couple of substitutions in the game which are not really tactical. That is difficult to deal with but we gave a good account of ourselves," he said.

"The players didn't deserve to be on the end of a 3-1 defeat.

"To be fair to Chelsea, they showed more intent and quality at the times that was needed.

"Having taken the lead we showed positive intent but in the second half, with them equalising so early, it gives a different complexion, and the way the game developed suited their game plan."

Leicester remain one point above the bottom three and now face Newcastle United in a crucial clash on Saturday.

Pearson said despite defeat, the manner of their performance has given his side confidence.

"There is a feeling we are capable and have given ourselves a better chance of avoiding relegation," he said.

"Tonight is a setback because when you go ahead you expect to push on but we came up against a side able to take advantage of their quality in the second half."

The Leicester manager also offered his view on Chelsea, saying that Jose Mourinho's men will be deserved champions.

"I've heard criticisms of Chelsea recently and I find it bemusing to be honest," he added.

"The best sides are able to win games in different ways - and Chelsea illustrated that tonight. They are worthy champions."

Pearson left his post-match press conference abruptly after taking umbrage to a question from a reporter, who did not agree with the manager's assessment that Leicester had received unfair criticism this season. The ugly two-minute spat was not the first time Pearson has clashed with a journalist this season.