The chants were loud and clear from the incandescent visiting supporters: “Nathan Jones, get out of our club.”. After a limp and flaccid capitulation to a Brentford side who barely had to break sweat, Southampton are in serious trouble at the bottom of the Premier League.
“I totally understand,” sighed Jones, whose team have won just once in the league since October.
“They saw a performance that deserved those words. This team has been losing Premier League games for a year, but whatever happens on the pitch is down to me and I have broad shoulders.
“Whatever the club decide is up to them, but I hope they give me more time. I want to go home, look at myself in the mirror and say I’ve been the best version of myself,” he added.
“Right now I can’t do that. Because of the personnel I’ve had and other things, Perhaps being in the Premier League, I have compromised my values. I’ve gone away from why I was recruited and that had led to the fans’ views and outside noise. That is going to change; starting now.”
Southampton looked rickety from the start and eight minutes of pressure culminated with Ivan Toney’s cute flick forward. Yoane Wissa reacted quickly and rounded Gavin Bazunu, only to shoot against the bar of the open goal.
Brentford were superior in all areas. But just as it seemed their possession and intent might count for nothing, they scored twice.
Delicious interplay between Mathias Jensen and Bryan Mbeumo ended with Ibrahimia Diallo slipping and Mbeumo crossing for Ben Mee to head home his third goal of the season.
Southampton barely had time to collect their thoughts when they conceded again. Josh Dasilva’s wonderful crossfield ball fell to Wissa.
James Bree turned his back as Wissa crossed and Mbeumo swept in from six yards.
Jones introduced £40 million of talent for the second period, giving Kamaldeen Sulemana and 6ft 7in Ebere Onuachu their first taste of English football, but a clear chance would not materialise until Mads Roerslev blocked a goal-bound Theo Walcott drive.
Brentford’s inevitable third came when the unmarked Jensen headed Rico Henry’s cross past Bazunu after fine hold-up play from Kevin Schade.
For Brentford, business as usual – and business is good. Where Southampton go from here is anyone’s guess.