Burnley 0 Leicester 2: Nigel Pearson left 'delighted' with Foxes performance as Leicester close-in on Championship title
Pearson hails his side's performance under pressure on 'the big occasion' that sees Leicester open up a six-point gap over second-placed Burnley
Saturday 29 March 2014
Nigel Pearson lauded his Leicester side for handling the pressure as they won their top-of-the-table clash with Burnley 2-0 to move six points clear at the Sky Bet Championship's summit.
The Foxes would have been knocked off that perch if they lost to the Clarets by two goals but, with the hosts' depleted ranks ravaged further inside the opening eight minutes when Sam Vokes came off injured, the visitors became the first league side to win at Turf Moor in more than a year.
David Nugent, who spent time on loan with Burnley, scored his ninth goal against his former employers before substitute Chris Wood smashed in a fantastic second 12 minutes from time.
Just three wins from the final eight games would now see Leicester guarantee a Barclays Premier League return after a 10-year absence and their manager marvelled at the way his men rose to the occasion against their nearest challengers.
"Coming into the game we were probably the two most consistent sides over the entirety of the season and we're very pleased to get the win," Pearson said.
"I'm delighted with the performance in the sense that knowing how tough it's going to be at this stage of the season where the pressure's very much on results rather than performance - I was pleased with our ability to deal with the big occasion against a very good side."
The travelling support gleefully chanted about being league leaders and their impending promotion, yet Pearson would not predict when those aspirations will be confirmed.
"I don't really want to get into any sort of discussion about when it'll be," added the Foxes boss, who takes his team to Wigan on Tuesday night.
"It'll be if we're able to get over the lines ourselves. We've created a situation in which over the vast majority of the season we've worked hard to get into the leading position and we want to finish the job off."
Pearson would ideally like to return to Turf Moor next season with both sides in the top flight. However, Burnley's promotion bid appears far less clear-cut with Vokes possibly joining Championship player of the year Danny Ings, Kieran Trippier and Dean Marney on the sidelines.
"I just hope they finish the season in the fashion they've been able to play in so far and achieve their goals; I think they deserve it," Pearson said.
Clarets boss Sean Dyche could offer no update on Vokes in the immediate aftermath although Pearson, who was directly above the Wales international when he jarred his knee after getting his studs caught in the turf, claimed it did not look good.
Burnley were left with just one striker when he had to be substituted and although they huffed and puffed, there was little attacking endeavour without the strike partnership which has scored 46 goals this term.
"I thought a couple of decisions didn't go for us but overall they deserved the win," Dyche admitted.
"They're a very good side. At full strength I would have liked to have gone toe-to-toe without the challenges we had to our team today. But overall they're there for a reason."
The depleted Clarets may now be looking over their shoulder but Dyche was quick to pick his team up after the final whistle.
He added: "They looked disappointed afterwards and I reminded them it's the first time they've been beaten in over a year. That's the best team in the division and they were up two games ago, it's a great position to be in."
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