Leicester manager Nigel Pearson has launched a critical attack on Wigan and former manager Uwe Rosler following a bizarre altercation with former transfer target James McArthur during his side’s 1-0 home defeat to Crystal Palace.
Pearson was initially bowled over on the touchline by McArthur after a tackle by Marc Albrighton, resulting in what was initially a friendly exchange between the Foxes boss and Palace midfielder.
Pearson even playfully grabbed McArthur around the throat before helping him to his feet, only to then prevent him from returning to the pitch by grabbing hold of his shirt.
Asked why he refused to let go of McArthur, who almost joined City last summer only for the club’s two bids of £5million and £7million to be rejected by Wigan, Pearson replied: “Because he said something to me.”
Asked to elaborate, Pearson added: “I don’t have to reveal anything do I? I’m more than capable of looking after myself.
“Listen, I’ve a lot of respect for the lad, he’s a good player. You know what happened in the summer in terms of him coming here.
“I’m as disappointed as he was with how things panned out, but it was nothing to do with either myself or the player.
“That’s the other football club that were involved who take absolute responsibility for anything that wasn’t quite right.
“There was a certain manager (Rosler) who opened his trap when he should have kept his mouth shut.
“But there’s no problem with the player. He’s a good player and a likeable lad.”
The incident aside, Pearson is adamant there are no long faces inside the club despite suffering a damaging defeat in their bid to beat relegation.
Joe Ledley’s 55th-minute header was enough to give Crystal Palace a 1-0 win at the King Power Stadium, the club’s fifth victory in six matches since Alan Pardew took charge.
The rock-bottom Foxes, meanwhile, are now on a run of three straight defeats, and with Arsenal, Everton and Manchester City up next there is every chance it could be six come their next home game against another relegation rival in Hull on March 14.
Pearson, though, is doing his best to remain defiant as he said: “For myself as a manager that is bottom of the league what I cannot do is hide from the facts.
“We are where we are, but so far we have not been beaten where we’ve been absolutely rolled over.
“We’ve been competitive, but what we haven’t found are answers to days like this, a tight game which we shouldn’t lose.
“Instead we’ve been beaten by a side who set themselves out to be difficult to play against, but you can’t underestimate the fact they have some decent players.
“It’s a frustration, but what we mustn’t do – the club, players and management - is get downbeat by how people want to write us off after a result like this.”
City should at least have taken a point as they had the chances, but either found Julian Speroni in fine form or wasted the opportunities that were presented.
The closest they came was when David Nugent rattled the angle of bar and post with a header in the first half.
Pearson added: “We had enough chances to get something from the game, but the big issue we have at the moment is our inability to take the chances when they come along.
“That is the ultimate difference between the Premier League and the Championship.
“All I can do is keep working with the players to turn it around, and we have good players here.
“You would have targeted this game beforehand as something we needed to get something from, we’ve not done that and the gap is bigger, but there is still an awful long way to go.”
By contrast, opposite number Pardew has turned Palace around, with his club now six points clear of the relegation zone.
Pardew lost inspirational centre-back Scott Dann at the break after a clash of heads late in the first half with City skipper Wes Morgan.
As it transpired, that proved to be a key moment for Pardew who added: “Scott has a large golf-ball-sized lump on his head from a clash with Morgan.
“He wasn’t quite right at half time. I don’t think he was concussed, but he felt a little bit uncomfortable.
“That actually turned out to be significant for us because (Brede) Hangeland came on and I thought he was our best player.
“He was calm, great defensively, won everything and contributed to the goal, so kind of indirectly it worked for us.”