Former Leicester City striker Steve Claridge has blamed off-the-field incidents for Nigel Pearson's "unexpected" departure.
Steve Claridge believes non-footballing reasons led to Nigel Pearson's "unexpected" departure from Leicester City on Tuesday.
Pearson was sacked despite keeping the club in the Premier League last season with seven wins in their last nine matches, dragging them off the foot of the table to finish 14th.
The manager's own campaign was overshadowed by a much-publicised spat with a journalist and a clash with Crystal Palace midfielder James McArthur, but Leicester's Thai owners stood by their man.
However, a troublesome end-of-season tour to Thailand saw three players – including Pearson's son James – sent home after an alleged racist orgy.
And Claridge believes off-field matters were Pearson's downfall.
"We often get [situations] in football where you put two and two together and get five, but with this one it's patently clear that it is not a football decision because he's probably never been so strong," former Leicester striker Claridge told Perform.
"They stayed with him two or three times when they could've quite easily sacked him and no-one would have argued, but they stayed with him.
"We all applauded that and that decision was lauded at the end of the season, they got their reward and it all looked well.
"[But] there are obviously differences between the board and the manager. When the board made the statement they did not say much about football, they said an awful lot about how there have been irreconcilable differences and they couldn't see a way forward, implying that was why he got sacked.
"And that obviously is the case because his football stock is very high, no one has done what he has done in the Premier League of getting a club out of that situation at that stage of the season, and stay up with aplomb.
"But there are extenuating circumstances, we know the problems that have happened at the football club.
"We hear respect a lot and maybe there was an element of that that was lost with what's gone on. There's obviously a human element in what's happened between three or four lads that have been let go. Is that coincidence? I doubt it."