Leicester City coach Nigel Pearson turned on a reporter who dared to question the manager?s assertion that his players had faced a lot of criticism this season after Wednesday night's clash against Chelsea.

Leicester?s manager Nigel Pearson was unhappy with the questions in his post-match press conference.

Leicester City coach Nigel Pearson turned on a reporter who dared to question the manager?s assertion that his players had faced a lot of criticism this season after Wednesday night?s clash against Chelsea.

This article titled ?Nigel Pearson?s rant sours spirited Leicester performance against Chelsea? was written by Stuart James at the King Power Stadium, for The Guardian on Wednesday 29th April 2015 23.44 UTC

On the face of it there were plenty of positives for Leicester City to take from a spirited performance against the champions-elect, but what seemed like a routine evening at the King Power Stadium ended in bizarre fashion. Nigel Pearson turned on a reporter who dared to question the manager?s assertion that his players had faced a lot of criticism this season.

No stranger to controversy already this season, Pearson got up and left his seat in a huff at the end of his post-match press conference after a surreal exchange with a journalist that included a reference to an ostrich. ?Are you flexible enough to get your head in the sand?? the Leicester manager asked at one point.

At the risk of stating the obvious, it all seemed rather odd and overshadowed a reasonable Leicester display that had briefly threatened to deliver a fifth successive win until second-half goals from Didier Drogba, John Terry and Ramires negated Marc Albrighton?s effort on the stroke of half-time and saw Chelsea run out 3-1 winners.

While Pearson was not exactly full of the joys of spring when he answered his first few questions ? understandably so after a defeat ? there was no hint of what was to come when the Leicester manager praised his players for the way they have responded in the face of adversity this season.

?The bottom line is what has given us a chance to survive has been the collective spirit we have,? he said. ?To win four games on the spin at any level, but certainly at Premier League level, is difficult and for the players to have to deal with the amount of criticism and negativity they?ve had to endure over the course of the season has tested us.

?Without wanting to talk too much, the players come out with awful lot of credit for dealing with setbacks and I expect them to deal with tonight?s setback as well.? Asked what criticism he was referring to, Pearson replied: ?Have you been on holiday for six months? Have you been away for six months??

From there on things got a little weird. The reporter said that he was not sure what ?specific criticism? Pearson was referring to, at which point the 51-year-old manager went into overdrive. ?I think you must have either your head in the clouds, or been away on holiday, or reporting on a different team, because if you don?t know the answer to that question ? your question is absolutely unbelievable, the fact you do not understand where I am coming from. If you don?t know the answer to that question then I think you are an ostrich. Your head must be in the sand. Is your head in the sand? Are you flexible enough to get your head in the sand? My suspicion would be no.?

The reporter confirmed that he was unable to perform that feat, albeit in not so many words. Pearson then suggested he was more flexible. ?I can, you can?t,? Pearson said.

?Listen, you have been here often enough and for you to ask that question you are either being very, very silly or you are being absolutely stupid, one of the two because for you to ask that question, I am sorry, son, you are?daft.?

With the rest of the reporters listening in with an increasing sense of disbelief, and now realising that Jos? Mourinho would not be getting all of the headlines after all, the journalist who was being cross-examined said once again that he did not believe there had been much harsh criticism of the Leicester players.

?You are wrong,? Pearson said. ?No, you are wrong. You have been in here, I know you have, so don?t give that crap with me, please don?t give that crap with me. I will smile at you because I can afford to smile at you. Now do you want to ask a different question or do you want to ask it differently. Come on, ask it. Ask it or are you not?capable??

By this stage the potential ramifications of Andy King and Robert Huth limping off inside the opening 24 minutes, and possibly being ruled out of the crucial home game against Newcastle United on Saturday, had long been forgotten.

The reporter?s stuttering attempt to respond to Pearson?s request brought another withering response. ?I just don?t know what you, erm ?? said the reporter. ?You don?t know. What?s erm?? The reporter made one final attempt to explain himself ? ?I just don?t know how you?ve taken that question? ? but it was not going to wash with Pearson. ?Well you must be very stupid. I?m sorry.? And with that he was gone.

guardian.co.uk ? Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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