Leicester boss: 'Impossible' to keep playing squad happy

Leicester City

Nigel Pearson is aware that members of his Leicester squad will be unhappy with their limited playing time, but he is grateful for his numerous options.

The Foxes have started the season well, sitting in 12th place in the Premier League following their promotion from the Championship last season.

A memorable 5-3 victory over Manchester United has undoubtedly been the highlight, although they are have failed to win consecutive games, conceding an injury time equaliser to Burnley in their most recent fixture prior to the international break.

The key to the early season success has been a strong and consistent first XI, with game-by-game first-team changes only occurring due to injury. The Foxes large squad has been offset by the need to change things in recent weeks, but, with a number of players returning to full fitness, head coach Nigel Pearson is aware that it will become impossible to keep the playing squad happy with players left out of action every week.

He told the Leicester Mercury: "In terms of keeping players happy, I accept it is impossible to keep them all happy but it is important to show a level of fairness, and that the selection process has a rationale behind it.

"If you do that correctly, you have a better chance of keeping people on side.

"I am not here to be the players' friend. I am here to be the manager of the football club and it is my job to make decisions on what I feel is the best side to take on whoever we are playing.

"We have the situation where, potentially, more players are unhappy because they are not involved, but that is a great position for us to be in because it means we have more players to select from and it gives us more options about how we set up.

"The important thing is the players recognise we do need to have options."

Despite the inevitable unhappiness, Pearson believes that it proves he has a squad with the right mentality - with everyone fighting for a first-team role.

He added: "I don't expect players to be happy if they are not involved. If you have players who are happy not to be involved, then you probably have not selected the right players to be a part of the set-up.

"It can change quickly. For the first game of the season, the team pretty much picked itself, but now, of course, we have very few players unavailable through injury or suspension.

"Things change very quickly and the players have to be ready to take their opportunity when they get it.

"If you speak to any manager they would say the same type of thing. It is not about keeping them happy, it is about us all having the common goal.

"I accept that from time to time I will be dealing with one or two players who are not particularly enchanted with me or the situation. But it is a team game and that is what they have to remind themselves of."

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch