NATHAN JONES is losing the confidence of Southampton’s players – even though the boss is set to stay at St Mary’s.
Under-fire Jones, for the time being at least, appears to have been given a stay of execution by the Saints’ owners despite a disastrous start on the south coast.
Nathan Jones is understood to be losing the backing of his Southampton players
Jones’ position was discussed by the Saints board over the weekend, with many of them unsettled by his comments following the Brentford defeat.
But SunSport can reveal that Southampton’s players were already unimpressed with Jones even before his extraordinary statements following the 3-0 defeat at Brentford.
The majority of the club’s first team have repeatedly questioned his tactics while talking with each other.
They believe his coaching is not at the levels of previous boss Ralph Hasenhuttl, who was sacked after four years at the club.
Southampton’s players preferred Jones’ warmer personality compared to Hasenhuttl who was seen by some as both cold and arrogant.
Yet Hasenhuttl gained respect from the players due to his tactics and that is generally not the case with Jones, 49, who has lost six of his seven Premier League matches since taking over in November.
It is thought that there is a core of British players, including captain James Ward-Prowse, who are still supportive of the Welshman.
Jones, a surprise appointment by the club’s Sport Republic, has managed just one win, against Everton.
FREE BETS AND SIGN UP DEALS – BEST NEW CUSTOMER OFFERS
But eyebrows were raised within the squad when four first team players, including January signing Mislav Orisc, were picked to play for the B Team on Friday.
Duje Caleta-Car, Moussa Djenepo and Armel Bella-Kotchap all lined up alongside the kids.
After the loss to Brentford on Saturday, he then infuriated the players by saying they were part of the reason he has not changed to his so-called preferred style.
Jones said: “I’ve compromised certain principles because of personnel, but also the way people want to play — because of fans.
“I’ve been very successful playing a fluent style, Luton were a real aggressive front-footed side. Statistically, there weren’t many better than me around Europe in terms of aggression, clean sheets, defending the box, balls in the box, xG, all those sort of things.
“We were pound-for-pound the best because we were spending next to nothing and producing so much. I’ve gone away from that because it’s the Premier League and due to certain players and internationals.
“I’ve had to compromise certain things and I won’t do that again.”
Saints are at home to Wolves on Saturday but before then Southampton’s leadership will front up to supporters on Tuesday night at a ticket-only fans’ forum.
Director of football Rasmus Ankersen, chairman Henrik Kraft, chief executive Martin Semmens, and managing director Toby Steele will speak to 100 season ticket holders at St. Mary’s Stadium.
The event will not be lived streamed through the club, though a recording will be published in the next few days.