Nigel Pearson apologizes to journalist after bizarre rant, blames “emotion” for his actions

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After his bizarre rant at a local journalist on Wednesday following Leicester City’s 3-1 defeat to Chelsea, Foxes manager Nigel Pearson has apologized to the member of the media in question.

[ RELATED: Pearson banned, fined ]

Pearson took a question from journalist Ian Baker to heart, as he spoke about the fact that his players had received unfair criticism throughout the season.

The press conference then took a turn for the worst as Pearson mocked the journalist and then bizarrely described him as an “ostrich” before asking how flexible his neck was and if he could put his head in the sand. Seriously, that happened.

Video of said comments can be found here, as Pearson lost his cool in a big way but has big enough to apologize on Thursday morning as the same journalist turned up for the pre-match press conference for Leicester’s massive clash against Newcastle on Saturday (Watch live, 7:45 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra).

“Ian before we start, I want to apologize to you for last night,” Pearson said. “I think its right to do that in front of the cameras instead of pulling you to one side. I hope it doesn’t ruin our relationship.”

So, fair play. Baker accepted the apology and everyone has made up. However, Pearson was asked plenty of questions why he reacted in such a strange manner and had the following reason as to why he reacted the way he did.

“I don’t like losing. I felt for the players,” Pearson said. “We were trying to keep the run going. It is frustrating but there we are. We move on.”

Asked about the criticism of his players and if it has been unjust, Pearson had the following to say.

“Yeah, I think there has been [unfair criticism],” Pearson said. “I think it has been a bit mixed, personally. At times there has been criticism that has not been observations but opinions by people who have not necessarily seen a large enough portion of our season and generalizations which I think are poor.”

After brushing off questions about pressure getting to him, Pearson then gave an observation as to why his behavior occurred.

“I think it was emotion more than anything. I am not afraid of showing my emotions. Iget labeled with certain titles which is people’s prerogatives to say what they want about me, in certain ways. I am happy to fight my own corner. I also accept when I have stepped out of line which is why I think Ian is due an apology. It is the right thing for me to do today and not let it drag on.”

Leicester City’s players have been praised heavily for their recent run of four wins which has lifted them out of the relegation zone and despite their defeat to Chelsea on Wednesday, their destiny is in their own hands with four games of the season to go.

However Pearson’s bizarre behavior throughout the season, which includes being banned and fined for swearing at home fans plus an unsavory incident where he seemed to pin down Crystal Palace’s James McArthur by the throat during a game, is making the Foxes survival charge a little sour.

Racist abuse delays England v. Bulgaria qualifier

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England raced out to an impressive 4-0 lead at Bulgaria by halftime, but the wonderful attacking display was marred by horrendous incidents from the crowd.

The match in the Vasil Levski Stadium in Sofia, Bulgaria was stopped on two occasions with announcements being made to ask sections of the crowd to stop their abusive language. This comes with the stadium already serving a partial stadium closure due to racist chanting from the crowd in previous qualifiers.

Below is UEFA’s protocol on how to intervene in these situations, and what transpired from lead writer Joe Prince-Wright.

Tottenham re-signs goalkeeper Vorm

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With Hugo Lloris set to miss at least another two months of action with a broken elbow, Tottenham has turned to a familiar face to provide some cover between the pipes.

Tottenham announced Monday it had re-signed goalkeeper Michel Vorm to a contract through the end of the 2019-2020 Premier League season. Vorm spent five seasons with Tottenham after signing from Swansea City in 2014. However, after playing second-fiddle to Lloris and later serving as the third backup behind current Tottenham No. 2, Paulo Gazzaniga for the past couple of seasons, Vorm was released at the end of last season.

Its certainly a boost for Tottenham that a player with a long history at the club and plenty of experience was available to help in this situation. Similar to Liverpool picking up Adrian after Alisson Becker’s injury, Tottenham know what it’s getting in Vorm and may play him a few times if Gazzaniga needs a night off in the next few months.

According to Vorm, he had been home in his native Netherlands and was watching the game when he saw Lloris get injured.

“Obviously I saw straight away that he had a bad injury and at the time I thought about how bad it was, Vorm told Tottenham’s website. “After the game I spoke with Jan (Vertonghen), he told me what was going on and I spoke also with Toni (Jimenez, our goalkeeping coach) and, yes, during the week I got the phone call to ask if I was open to come back and help out. I’ve kept in contact with a lot of the players and also with Toni. We were speaking quite regularly and on Thursday he called me, we had the conversation and from there on, it went very quickly.”

In his five seasons with Tottenham, Vorm made a total of 47 appearances in all competitions. He saw plenty of time in the League Cup, FA Cup, UEFA Europa League and Champions League during his stay at White Hart Lane.

In-form striker Duvan Zapata injured on international duty

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This international break has been particularly brutal to clubs who have seen a host of key players go down with injuries, and there’s still a few days of matches remaining.

The latest player to succumb to injury is Atalanta striker Duvan Zapata who returned from Colombia duty with an adductor strain and will miss at least three weeks, according to Sky Sports Italia (via FootballItalia). Zapata went down 23 minutes into Colombia’s 0-0 friendly draw with Chile on Friday and was sent back to Italy for tests at his club.

Those tests have reportedly confirmed the initial fears. The loss of Zapata is a massive one for Atalanta, as the 28-year-old has been steadily building for years and is having a breakout start to this campaign, scoring six Serie A goals in seven matches plus one more in Champions League play, currently on a run of four consecutive games with a goal across all competitions. With Zapata’s help, Atalanta sits third in the Serie A table, having bagged the most goals of any team with 18 through seven games.

Zapata becomes the latest high-profile injury from this international break, joining Colombia teammate Alexis Sanchez who went down late in the same match and is reportedly out until 2020 with a serious ankle injury. Chelsea has been hit the hardest, with Andreas Christensen, Mateo Kovacic, and Reese James all pulling up while N’Golo Kante was injured in France warmups but he is expected to be fit for the weekend. Luka Modric may miss time after going down in a Euro qualifier against Wales, while Gareth Bale also picked up a knock in that match. Neymar went down in Brazil’s match against against Nigeria, which forced manager Tite to explain his reasoning for the selection in a friendly. Sergio Aguero is apparently struggling to train with Argentina thanks to a mystery injury confirmed by Lionel Scaloni. Arsenal’s Dani Ceballos withdrew from Spain training earlier in the week with “hamstring overload.” Atlanta United defender Miles Robinson left USMNT camp with a hamstring problem with the MLS playoffs on the horizon.

Ex-England midfielder Gascoigne on trial for sexual assault

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LONDON (AP) — A prosecutor has alleged that former England midfielder Paul Gascoigne sexually assaulted a woman on a train by “forcibly and sloppily” planting an unwanted kiss on her lips.

Prosecutor William Mousley’s comments Monday came as Gascoigne, who has struggled with alcohol and mental-health problems, went on trial at Teesside Crown Court charged with sexual assault of the female passenger.

Mousley said the former England star “put his hands on her cheeks and kissed her forcibly and sloppily on the lips.”

The 52-year-old Gascoigne denies the charge.

The alleged victim has told the court that she froze when the man, who appeared drunk, kissed her in August 2018. She says she did not realize it was Gascoigne until after the alleged incident.