After 14 games in charge, Southampton have called an end to Nathan Jones’ brief tenure at St Mary’s.
Jones was brought in to replace Ralph Hasenhuttl in November, as Southampton finally called time on his four-year spell having suffered poor stints across his stay. Hasenhuttl’s final game was a 4-1 defeat to Newcastle which left Southampton in the relegation zone with just three wins after 14 matches.
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The search for a new manager was very brief and Jones was appointed in time for Southampton’s last game before the international break, a 3-1 defeat against Liverpool. Highly-rated at Luton, Jones had struggled elsewhere and he didn’t really get going at Southampton
In 14 games across all competitions, Jones won five matches but four of those game in the cups — even the impressive 2-0 win over Manchester City proved to be more of an anomaly than the start of an upturn in form. In the Premier League alone, Jones won one and lost seven of his eight matches, managing to alienate the fans along the way.
Now, Southampton are bottom of the table, four points from safety and looking in serious danger of relegation unless their new manager can save them. But who could it be?
The markets for next Southampton manager are currently suspended.
Jesse Marsch on his way to St Mary’s?
Southampton really don’t mess about when it comes to replacing managers. Jones was sacked on Sunday and it appears they have already lined up his replacement, with Jesse Marsch reportedly close to taking the job.
Marsch was sacked by Leeds just over a week ago for his own poor form at the Yorkshire club, who join Southampton in the Premier League’s relegation battle. Although he struggled at Leeds this season, Marsch did do enough to save them from relegation in 2021/22 even though it went to the final day.
While battling relegation with Leeds, Marsch also implemented his own playing style, having to work hard to switch from Marcelo Bielsa’s system. To do so during a relegation battle was a massive risk, but it was one that paid off.
At Leeds Marsch was pretty much set on the 4-2-3-1, and it will be interesting to see how his potential Southampton side could line up – given they were designed with a two-man strike force in mind and Jones struggled with a 4-2-3-1.
But it will about more than just the formation, rather the tactics, should Marsch keep with the 4-2-3-1. The back four and goalkeeper pretty much pick themselves right now, with Gavin Bazunu, Duje Caleta-Car, Mohammed Salisu and Romain Perraud likely to continue – joined by Kyle Walker-Peters has he returns from injury.
In midfield, Romeo Lavia found himself a favourite under Jones having returned from injury and he’ll also likely continue alongside Ibrahima Diallo, with James Ward-Prowse the more advanced man.
Che Adams will lead the line, flanked by Mohamed Elyounoussi and Marsch may actually give January signing Mislav Orsic a chance.