Sheffield United vs Bristol City: What former Sheffield Wednesday man Nigel Pearson said about Paul Heckingbottom's chances of success

Nigel Pearson, the Bristol City manager, acknowledged his team “needed to be at their best” to beat Sheffield United following Paul Heckingbottom’s appointment last week.

Monday, 29th November 2021, 6:48 am

The former Sheffield Wednesday defender bemoaned City’s lack of aggression and “poor decision making” against opponents he conceded demonstrated more experience than the visitors.

“We made bad decisions when we had good possession,” Pearson said, after goals from Rhian Brewster and Billy Sharp ensured Heckingbottom’s reign got off to a winning start. “That will be a lesson for some of our younger players. But strangely, their second came from a bad decision from one of our senior players.

Sheffield United were getting into our penalty box a little bit too easily for my liking. But that’s how it goes.

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“We knew we would have chances in the game, especially as it progressed. We thought we would get a couple of chances. But to concede the second one, well, that really does take momentum out of what you’re trying to do.”

“United, you could see, they looked relieved to get the second,” Pearson added. “They’d missed a lot of chances themselves and at 1-0, who knows? Which is why it was so disappointing with us. Particularly as there was so much injury time.”

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The match was halted for around 10 minutes when City’s Nathan Baker required lengthy treatment for an injury which saw him taken to hospital.

Paul Heckingbottom, manager of Sheffield United, applauds the fans prior to the Sky Bet Championship match against Bristol City: Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

“They (United) have under-performed I think it’s fair to say,” Pearson added. “But it wasn’t the bouncing atmosphere I expected. It was pretty sedate.”

Pearson confirmed he sent a good luck message to Heckingbottom before kick-off, after the former Barnsley, Leeds and Hibernian chief was unveiled as Slavisa Jokanovic’s successor.

“He’s a good guy and I know he’s popular here,” Pearson said. “I think he can step into the role pretty seamlessly. The Championship is so unpredictable and that’s one of the beauties of it.

“But that’s why managers get sacked, because people get unrealistic expectations. Some changes you need to negotiate with a calm head and I think Paul has got a calm head. I think he’ll do well.”