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Five Aside
By ESPN Staff

Pearce gives his backing to new England boss

Stuart Pearce has taken time out from his domestic worries to wish Steve McClaren well on the international stage.

Manchester City boss Pearce had been touted early in the campaign as a contender in the hunt to find a successor to Sven-Goran Eriksson.

However it was his Middlesbrough counterpart McClaren who will take the reins with England after the World Cup.

Following the 3-1 defeat by Arsenal, Pearce said: 'Steve gets my full support.

'I will phone him in the next few days and wish him all the best.

'City is an open club and I will do as much as I possibly can to help him.'

Pearce was non-committal, however, about whether he would like to be on McClaren's coaching staff.

Instead he was left to reflect on City's eighth defeat in nine games and their fifth successive loss at home.

They round off their campaign on Sunday by visiting Blackburn, who have already clinched a UEFA Cup spot.

City made a decent fist of it against Arsenal with David Sommeil cancelling out the opener by Freddie Ljungberg.

However Jose Antonio Reyes stepped off the bench to score twice in six minutes and seal the three points.

Pearce puts the dreadful run of results down to their exit from the FA Cup at the hands of West Ham.

He said: 'The confidence was knocked out of us by that defeat.

'But now is not the time to be offering excuses. We have to get better next season.

'We will be looking to strengthen and perhaps need to bring in four new players but they have to be of the right personality.'

Pearce will continue to monitor the fitness of Sylvain Distin and Antoine Sibierski ahead of the Blackburn match after they missed the Gunners clash because of knocks.