Nathan Jones should not take all of the blame for Southampton calamity | Southampton


If something was symptomatic of Nathan Jones’s calamitous short-lived stint at Southampton – at 94 days, his managerial tenure was the shortest within the membership’s historical past – it was the sight of Jan Bednarek bumbling backwards over the goal-line as Adama Traore’s shot pinballed between his legs and in to assist condemn Jones to a seventh defeat in eight Premier League matches. It was a number of seconds that speaks to the best way Southampton have apparently regressed within the three months since boldly appointing Jones as Ralph Hasenhüttl’s successor.

In some ways, Bednarek’s inclusion within the beginning lineup was additionally indicative of a muddled and depressing few months at St Mary’s. Bednarek was allowed to hitch Aston Villa on a season-long mortgage in September, with the Poland defender down the pecking order at Southampton. Bednarek, who irritated Southampton supporters by saying he had signed for a “greater membership”, wished to play commonly earlier than the World Cup however made only one league begin earlier than being recalled in January.

On Saturday, Bednarek was once more most popular to summer time signings Duje Caleta-Automotive and Armel Bella-Kotchap, each of whom had been not noted of the squad (the latter is lately again from harm), whereas the Arsenal loanee Ainsley Maitland-Niles was parachuted in to play alongside him at centre-back.

January arrival Mislav Orsic, a part of the Croatia squad that completed third on the World Cup in December, was additionally omitted from the squad in opposition to Wolves. Supporters hoped the 30-year-old Orsic would assist ease the scoring burden on Che Adams, one among few gamers to impress this season, however the former Dinamo Zagreb ahead has performed simply six minutes within the league since signing firstly of final month and was amongst a quartet of first-team gamers who performed for the B staff as an alternative of travelling to Brentford final weekend.

Jones, nonetheless, mustn’t take all the blame. He was by no means going to show down a three-and-a-half-year contract and the chance to handle within the Premier League for the primary time. Southampton weren’t delay by the pink flags from Jones’s troublesome spell at Stoke – he was sacked after 9 months with the membership within the Championship relegation zone – or the truth that his success at Luton, whom he propelled into the playoffs final season regardless of one of many smallest budgets within the division, got here in a totally contrasting surroundings.

Overhauling the dynamic of their squad final summer time was at all times going to be a courageous step. In got here three proficient youngsters from Manchester Metropolis – Juan Larios, Samuel Edozie and Roméo Lavia – a uncooked 20-year-old ahead from Bordeaux, Sékou Mara, plus a brand new first-choice goalkeeper, Gavin Bazunu, who doesn’t flip 21 till this month and spent final season on mortgage from Metropolis at rivals Portsmouth in League One.

Jan Bednarek scores an own goal as Southampton throw away the lead against Wolves.
Jan Bednarek scores an personal objective as Southampton throw away the lead in opposition to Wolves. {Photograph}: Peter Nicholls/Reuters

Southampton granted Oriol Romeu his want to return to Spain however his expertise has been missed, whereas they by no means actually changed Danny Ings, who was offered 18 months in the past. One other wave of promising kids arrived in January at a mixed value of virtually £60m, together with the 20-year-old Ghana winger Kamaldeen Sulemana, a glimmer of sunshine in defeat on Saturday.

A followers’ discussion board for 100 season-ticket holders on Tuesday was inevitably dominated by supporters questioning Jones’s appointment. At one level a fan earned a number of cheers after ridiculing Jones by mimicking the Welshman. However Jones additionally invited criticism by antagonising followers along with his post-match feedback.

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There was loads of bravado, the weird xG-fuelled rant after the 3-0 loss to Brentford, the swipe at Paul Doswell, the Havant & Waterlooville supervisor, after beating Pep Guardiola’s Manchester Metropolis, and situations of referring to Southampton as “they” and his gamers as “them”. Martin Semmens, the Saints chief govt, had the thankless process of attempting to clarify Jones’s feedback. “It most likely irritated everybody on this room however I believe he was simply attempting to precise his ardour,” Semmens stated.

Everton lately chosen Sean Dyche, who stored Burnley within the high flight for six straight seasons, as the person to breathe life into their battle for survival however a number of golf equipment, together with Southampton, blinked sooner and sought change final autumn. Wolves ultimately changed Bruno Lage with Julen Lopetegui, a former Actual Madrid, Sevilla and Spain supervisor. Aston Villa appointed Unai Emery, a four-times Europa League profitable coach, as Steven Gerrard’s successor.

Earlier than these strikes Brighton misplaced Graham Potter to Chelsea and so moved for Roberto De Zerbi, whose work at Sassuolo and Shakhtar Donetsk meant he was a reputation on the lips of Premier League executives. Southampton gambled on Jones and the way it has badly backfired. On Saturday a younger Saints fan wafted an enormous cardboard P45 in Jones’s course and his exit is a full cease on the finish of an error.