Schmeichel: “Nigel Pearson Won the League, Not Dilly Dong”

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Claudio Ranieri was sacked by Watford this week after less than four months in the job. In an extract from Peter Schmeichel’s book the father of Kasper and former Manchester United legend said that Ranieri wasn’t actually that good and it was Pearson that laid the foundations for the Premier League winning season.

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“All over the pitch, they had winners who could change the course of a game,” Schmeichel writes in his autobiography, released towards the end of 2021.

“They got to the point where they could even win the league with Claudio Ranieri in charge. My intention is not to be cruel to Claudio but 2015/16 was a players’ triumph, not one of management.

“Initially, Ranieri was against the way Leicester played; that game of long, fast counter-attacks based around Jamie Vardy’s strengths. Nor did he fancy N’Golo Kante.

“He inherited a battle-hardened team, one with competitive knowledge built on the experiences of two play-off defeats, a dominant Championship season, then the ‘Great Escape’ of 2014/15.

“During that season, though they fought relegation, they were close in every single game; nobody beat them lightly.

“I would watch Kasper and see a team that was going to start winning. I thought ‘the only thing holding you back is that you don’t know how good you are.’”

“Nigel Pearson created an environment in which the bond between players was unbreakable and their idea of how they should play was 100% clear. On the pitch, the players took control.

“They played the way they felt. They took control of the tactics.

“I feel sorry for Nigel because he left the club before he could finish the job. I am convinced, had he stayed, he would have won the league too.

“Dilly Dong? I never bought into that stuff,”

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