Stuart Pearce: Nottingham Forest 'shielded' by manager's status

Fan holds a Stuart Pearce scarf up in support of the Nottingham Forest manager
Stuart Pearce first joined Nottingham Forest as a player in 1985

Manager Stuart Pearce says his players are fortunate his status among Nottingham Forest fans is "shielding" them from heavy criticism.

The former Forest captain, 52, is considered a legend at the City Ground, where he spent 12 years as a player.

Forest are winless in six games after Sunday's 3-1 home loss to Birmingham.

"The crowd being like they are has sheltered them from any grief coming in their direction because they support me," Pearce told BBC Radio Nottingham.

"That won't continue, the performances are not good and it frustrates the life out of me.

"They know it hurts me, the fans on the terraces, when our team don't play to the ability we have."

A section of the home crowd was vocal in support of Pearce, chanting his nickname "Psycho" when Forest were 3-0 down and heading toward their second defeat in 48 hours after Friday's 3-0 loss at Middlesbrough.

"I'm a very fortunate person, to be honest," said the former Manchester City and England Under-21 boss, who was appointed by Forest in July, having previously been in charge of the team for the second half of the 1996-97 season.

"I said to the players after the game that they are getting shielded a little bit by that. We have fantastic support that are loyal to myself and loyal to the players."

Similar records
Pearce won seven out of 23 games during his spell in charge of Forest in 1996-97, with nine draws and seven defeats. His second spell has produced nine wins, 10 draws and eight defeats from 27 matches so far.

Forest are 10th in the Championship with 31 points from 24 matches and have not won since a 3-0 victory over Wolves on 22 November.

Pearce says he has the players to repay the faith shown by supporters but has demanded a more forceful response to their latest slump in form.

"We have got quality within the squad," he said.

"If you have that, you just need to find leadership. We have to come out and show a manly performance and not let people come and take charity away from us.

"Birmingham came away from a charitable donation from Nottingham Forest."