Nigel Pearson plays down James McArthur spat

Leicester boss Nigel Pearson's touchline flashpoint with James McArthur on Saturday. Picture: Getty
Leicester boss Nigel Pearson's touchline flashpoint with James McArthur on Saturday. Picture: Getty
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LEICESTER City manager Nigel Pearson has hit out at Match of the Day pundits for making a “mountain out of a molehill” following his clash with James McArthur.

The Foxes boss – at the centre of sacking speculation on Sunday – was involved in a bizarre flashpoint with the Crystal Palace and Scotland midfielder in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to the Eagles. The pair collided during the game before Pearson appeared to grab McArthur by the throat before holding onto his shirt to prevent him rejoining the game.

And Pearson believes the way the incident was covered by anchorman Gary Lineker and pundits Danny Murphy and Jermaine Jenas on Match of the Day on Saturday night was unfair.

He said: “It’s not helpful when the three fountains of knowledge on Match of the Day make a mountain out molehill, there’s nothing in that on Saturday. The lad’s OK and it was very light hearted. How it was reported was totally inaccurate. Our owners are fine, as they were with the incident with the fan [when Pearson was involved in a row with a supporter against Liverpool in December]. You’re looking for news which is not there.”

Pearson said afterwards he could “look after himself” and Lineker responded by tweeting: “Ah Nigel Pearson is blaming MOTD for making a mountain out of a molehill. We’d best be careful in future, the fella can look after himself.”

Former Leicester and England striker Lineker then insinuated Pearson was sacked by one member of the Srivaddhanaprabha family, who own the club, before being reinstated by another on Sunday.

He added when asked if he was a fountain of knowledge: “If I was I’d tell you that he was sacked by one of the owners’ family and reinstated by another, but then I’m not.”

Speculation was rife on Sunday that Pearson had been sacked, with Leicester bottom of the Barclays Premier League.

There was a near four-hour silence from the club from when the first claims emerged until they finally issued a statement at 10pm insisting Pearson was still in charge.

The manager himself refused to clarify what had happened at his press conference yesterday afternoon ahead of the Foxes’ trip to London to play Arsenal tonight.

He added: “I understand the interest and you wanting to ask questions, but I have loyalties to the people I work for, my staff and the players, which really is more important to me than trying to clarify things for a story which was based on speculation.

“I am always happy to take the responsibility that being a manager brings.

“The club made a statement and I’m not going to speak about it.

“We have a game tomorrow and it’s important my focus, and the focus of the players, is on what we can do tomorrow night rather than talk about something I’m not prepared to talk about.”