Southampton boss sends message to angry fans as JWP makes plea after latest loss

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Pressure is already growing on the Southampton head coach
Pressure is already growing on the Southampton head coach

Nathan Jones admitted he was “surprised” at Southampton fan’s ferocious reaction after suffering a fourth straight Premier League loss since replacing Ralph Hasenhuttl.

St Mary’s turned toxic after a sixth straight Premier League defeat – with Nottingham Forest winning a relegation six-pointer. Jones was booed while attempting to applaud the Southampton fans after becoming the second Saints manager to lose his first four Premier League matches in charge.

“It surprises me but it's their prerogative,” Jones said. “Especially where I've come from, I can understand why they're sceptical. You have to show real characteristics when you come through this. I'm from the Welsh mining community. Everything I've done in my life is a challenge. I've never gone into a place like I left at Luton where everything is on a high and on the up.

Southampton boss sends message to angry fans as JWP makes plea after latest loss rridqqieqiqerinvNathan Jones wasn't too pleased with the reaction of Saints' fans

"The team has kept one clean sheet and that was Bournemouth away. And with the greatest respect, they were very fortunate to keep a clean sheet then. (Forest) didn't have any big chance apart from the goal they scored."

Taiwo Awoniyi’s goal was the difference in a low-quality match. Saints have conceded 16 times now at St Mary’s this season, with just one victory – their nine defeats in 2022 was the club’s worst calendar year this century.

Chelsea complete record-breaking Enzo Fernandez transfer after deadline day rushChelsea complete record-breaking Enzo Fernandez transfer after deadline day rush

It also marked the 14th time in 18 matches this season that Southampton have gone behind – Jones hasn’t even tasted the excitement of a lead yet as his new manager bounce has had the springiness of an anvil.

Saints skipper James Ward-Prowse has pleaded with the supporters to give their side a chance – despite falling three points adrift of safety. Ward-Prowse said: "We as players know and understand their frustrations. They have to bear with us, it's a different squad to the one we have had before.

"We're in early days with the manager and it's going to take a bit of time. Obviously time is not our friend and we need to turn it around quickly."

Steve Cooper was brutal about his fellow Welshman’s side – who failed to clock up a shot on target.

The Forest boss said: “I never thought we would concede. Dean’s not had any saves to make. I don’t think we were under the cosh in the second half and if anything we could have broken away and scored a second goal.”

Awoniyi’s strike ended a 576-minute wait for an away goal. He was given a first-half tap-in after Lyanco’s horror pass allowed Brennan Johnson in behind. Forest came into the game with the worst away record in the Premier League, they left it out of the relegation zone for the first time since September.

“It is better to be out of it than in it,” said Cooper. “Now we are out of there the challenge is to stay out and hopefully climb away from it.

“I really challenged the players to get the first away win and challenged myself and the staff, we're all in it together. We hope to turn this into a landmark win. We want to face up to every challenge. There's a long way to go and tough moments make you stronger."

Alex Smith

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