Nathan Jones wants to “manage expectations” at Southampton but acknowledged he must find a way to turn around his team’s season.
The Saints sit bottom of the Premier League three matches into Jones’ tenure, with the former Luton Town boss having replaced Ralph Hasenhuttl before the World Cup.
Southampton have lost all of their league games under Jones, and head into a pivotal home game against fellow strugglers Nottingham Forest on the back of a five-match losing streak in the top flight.
Jones understands Southampton need results, but stressed a complete turnaround in fortunes will not come easy.
“I know it can turn sour quickly and I don’t want that to happen,” said Jones. “I know what we’re good at, I know what improvements we’ve made, or are trying to make, and I know the levels we’re producing in training and in games. Now, we have to make sure we continue that.
“It’s not going to happen overnight, but it needs to happen quicker than it is, because time will run out eventually.
“But you can’t change the absolute direction of a football club in a few weeks. With the greatest respect, I want to manage expectations here.”
Forest signed a plethora of players in the last transfer window, but want to add to their squad again this month.
Steve Cooper said: “The window is more about improving the team – and the squad, because it is definitely a squad game now. You just have to look at how many games are coming up in so many days, and there will be other periods like that.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Southampton – James Ward-Prowse
James Ward-Prowse scored at both ends in Southampton’s defeat to Fulham. He is the Saints’ talisman and his set-piece delivery will always be a threat.
Nottingham Forest – Morgan Gibbs-White
Signed for big money, Morgan Gibbs-White had a lot to live up to at Forest but has quietly had an impressive campaign. No player has created more chances for the team than his 23, while he also has two assists and two goals to his name. That quality could just settle this one in the visitors’ favour.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– This will be the first meeting between Southampton and Forest in any competition since the 2011-12 Championship campaign, when Saints won home and away against them.
– Forest have never lost a Premier League away game against Southampton (W3 D2), winning their last such visit 2-1 in August 1998.
– Southampton have won their last two games against Forest in all competitions, as many as they had in their previous 17 (D4 L11). They last won three in a row against Forest in January 1984.
– Southampton lost their last Premier League home game against a promoted side, going down 2-1 against Watford in March. They have not lost consecutive such matches since April/November 2001.
– Southampton lost nine home Premier League matches during 2022, their most in a single calendar year since 1998, when they lost 10 at the Dell. They also conceded 31 goals at St Mary’s in 2022, only shipping more in home Premier League games in a year in 2019 (38).