Bristol City boss Nigel Pearson has revealed he has no complaints about the 2-0 scoreline against AFC Bournemouth because his side were “well beaten” on the day by a “much better” outfit, speaking the club’s media team after the match.
This latest match has extended City’s winless run at home to nearly nine months, with their last win at Ashton Gate coming in late January against Huddersfield Town, enjoying a reasonably respectable run of home form during the 2020/21 campaign up until that point.
But the Robins’ results under Dean Holden and his successor Pearson during the second half of last term were worthy of relegation and it was their Ashton Gate performances that particularly suffered during that time, with City also yet to win at home so this season.
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This has meant they have only won four points from a possible 18 in Bristol during 2021/22 after yesterday’s clash, a far cry from their away record with the Robins winning four of their six league fixtures on the road.
However, their loss against league leaders Bournemouth was forgivable after seeing the Cherries go unbeaten in all 11 of their Championship matches before their visit to Bristol, carrying a real attacking threat going forward and conceding just eight goals in the second tier as things stand.
City manager Pearson had no qualms with the result because of this, saying: “It was a tough lesson for us today.
“We didn’t control possession in a way I think we’re capable of, but hats off to them (Bournemouth) they are a very good side.
“We were well beaten so I have no complaints.
“Today we were a bit disjointed…it’s also important to recognise we played a side much better than us today, that’s the reality.
“So if we’re not at our best or if we can’t find a way of creating enough pressure on our opponents while we’ve got the ball, we were unfortunately second best today.”
Sometimes you have to hold your hands up and admit the better side won on the day – and this is exactly what Pearson has done.
The 58-year-old will know his side will face slightly easier ties in the future – and with the emotion surrounding David Brooks’ cancer diagnosis and Bournemouth’s desperation to make him proud – it was always going to be a tough game.
But whilst they can use their away form as a dangerous weapon, their fortunes at home must change if they want to climb into the top half of the second-tier table this season, a realistic aim considering the manager’s previous promotion-winning experience with Leicester City.
Tension will only rise amongst home supporters, particularly season ticket holders, if they fail to produce results at Ashton Gate because that record of not winning there since January is shocking.
Although they struggled towards the end of Holden’s spell, a huge portion of the responsibility has to be placed with Pearson. Is it a mental block? Why is their away form so much better? This is something the 58-year-old will have to work out.