Stoke City boss Nathan Jones says ‘something must change’ with his future at Championship side in major doubt

25 Aug

Stoke manager Nathan Jones is fully aware he could lose his job after a woeful start to the Championship season.

The Potters remain without a win from their opening five league games after a 3-0 defeat to promotion favourites Leeds at the bet365 Stadium on Saturday.

Nathan Jones is in danger of losing his job at Stoke
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The pressure is now mounting on Jones, who has recorded just four wins from 25 matches in charge since taking over from Gary Rowett in January.

“I’m a brave manager and we believe we will turn it around but the players have to show responsibility as well,” said Jones, who claims the alarm bells started to ring in his first game in charge – a 3-1 defeat at Brentford in mid-January.

“It’s about changing the mentality to be able to come back and handle the pressure of situations, and at the moment they [the players] are not doing it.

“Last year the start here cost one manager [Gary Rowett] his job. It might cost me mine, you never know. It’s not for the want of trying but something has to change, whether that’s the manager or the mentality of the players.”

Asked whether he has the support of the owners, Jones added: “Yeah, as far as I’m aware.

“I’ve got a good relationship with them, they see the work we are doing but that won’t continue forever. I know that.

Ezgjan Alioski was on target for Leeds in a convincing win at the bet365 Stadium
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“If I’m not the one, if I ever, at any point, feel like I can’t change, like I’m flogging a dead horse…I do feel we are making big strides but we haven’t got the rewards we should have had.”

Stoke at least battled up until Leeds carved them open in the 42nd minute, with Stuart Dallas rounding off a sublime series of one-touch passes.

The second half was all United, with Ezgjan Alioski and Patrick Bamford completing the rout that could have been worse but for some fine saves from Adam Federici, who had replaced benched England goalkeeper Jack Butland.

“It seems when something goes against them they mentally go,” said Jones of his players

“When the first goal went in we seemed to lose all the belief that we tried to instil in them.”

Further comparing the two sides, Jones added: “They [Leeds] had far more guile and steel, which we don’t have.

“They were relentless, absolutely relentless. That’s a mentality and an athleticism. We’re not there yet, we’re not at that level.”

Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa was naturally delighted with what was a commanding display, notably once his side had opened the scoring.

He said: “The start of the game was a little bit complicated for us but we adapted and started to manage the ball, then we scored and we produced a good performance.”

Assessing what United need to do to stay ahead of the chasing pack on this occasion, compared to last season when they dropped out of the top two into the play-off places, Bielsa added: “It’s very difficult to predict what will happen.

“One of the most important things, one of the keys, is that we do not have a lot of injuries and, of course, the positive results affect the ongoing performance of the team.”

Stoke City boss Nathan Jones responds to Jack Butland errors and calls to drop ‘distracted’ goalkeeper

22 Aug

Stoke City manager Nathan Jones has refused to blame Jack Butland for his recent errors, although says he is ‘not afraid to make big decisions’ amid calls to drop the England goalkeeper.

Butland dropped two big clangers in the Potters’ goal on Wednesday night as they suffered a 3-1 away defeat to Preston North End at Deepdale.

The result meant Stoke are still waiting for their first league win of the season after three defeats and a draw from their opening four fixtures, leaving them rock-bottom of the Championship table.

Jack Butland, who was a target for Aston Villa during the summer, is enduring a rough patch of form
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The club are enduring one of the worst runs of form in the English Football League, having won just two of their last 22 league games, and Butland is the latest player to go under spotlight for his decline of form.

It follows a summer in which the 26-year-old was constantly linked with a move away from the Potteries, but his price tag proved too much for interested clubs and he has ended up staying at the bet365 Stadium.

It’s not just Butland who has come under fire for his errors, though, with Wales midfielder Joe Allen also facing criticism after his early miss-of-the-season contender which cost Stoke a chance of victory in their 2-2 draw with Derby County.

But boss Jones insists he will not point the finger at any individuals in his squad, and says the whole team need to be collectively better to get Stoke out of their rut.

Speaking to talkSPORT host Jim White on Thursday, Jones said: “Look, it’s not just about individual errors and I’m not one for pointing fingers.

“I don’t want it become about Jack. I’m not going to come out and say ‘I’ve got no hesitation in dropping any individual’.

“Jack has been an excellent goalkeeper for me and there has been a lot of media speculation about his future, which doesn’t help.

Jack Butland is unlikely to be picked in Gareth Southgate’s next England squad based on his current form
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“As we were travelling back on the bus yesterday, there was a story that he’s in jeopardy of losing his England place.

“Well, honestly, I’m not as worried about Jack losing his England place as us losing matches, so what we have to do is all pull together to win matches for Stoke.

“Collectively we have to be better. It’s not one individual who is costing us. A lot has been made of certain errors, especially from our big players, but collectively we’ve got to be better.

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“Yes, a lot was highlighted yesterday because it was a televised game, but we’ve got good players here and we’ve got to take responsibility as a group of players to be better.

“We’ll make the right decision we have to make to win games, and I don’t want to turn into any individuals who are costing us and they will lose their place and so on.

“We have to get results and I’ll pick a side I think will get us that result. I’m not afraid of big decisions, but it’s not just about one individual.”

Listen back to talkSPORT’s interview with Stoke City manager Nathan Jones IN FULL above

Gary Rowett: Former Stoke City manager urges ‘fantastic owners’ and fans to back Nathan Jones after suffering own ‘difficult start’

16 Jan

Former Stoke City manager Gary Rowett has urged the club’s owners and fans to back new boss Nathan Jones after suffering his own ‘difficult start’ at the bet365 Stadium.

Rowett was dismissed by the Potters after less than eight months in charge earlier this month and was succeeded by Jones, who left League One high-flyers Luton to take up challenge of guiding Stoke back to the Premier League.

However, Jones suffered defeats in both his opening two matches, first losing at Brentford in the Championship before Shrewsbury knocked Stoke out the FA Cup by winning their third-round replay 3-2 on Tuesday evening.

The beginning of Jones’ time at Stoke has not gone to plan

Stoke actually led 2-0 with less than 20 minutes of the match remaining, before the visitors scored three times in a 10-minute spell to secure a remarkable comeback victory at the bet365 Stadium.

And Rowett, who went five games before guiding Stoke to a win at the beginning of the season, wants the club’s owners and fans to support Jones throughout his early career as manager.

Speaking to talkSPORT, Rowett said: “I can understand the fans feeling disappointed with this season and last season, but I think what has happened there is it’s all gone into one melting pot of frustration and that frustration has bubbled out into something that’s not particularly helpful right now for anyone.

“Nathan (Jones) will find that he needs support and needs to get through this early period, and he’ll need the fans’ backing. I think the club really have to stick together at this time.

Stoke fans wanted Rowett out towards the end of his reign

“Sometimes you don’t get what you want, you don’t get the performance you want, and that’s when you need to have a little bit of faith and be a bit patient.”

Rowett knows just what Jones will be going through after his shaky start as Stoke boss, having gone through a ‘difficult start’ of his own after being appointed the club’s manager in May following their relegation from the Premier League.

“I think the difficult bit when you go into a club like Stoke is the expectation, not only from within but also from outside,” he continued. “It’s almost like just because you’ve spent money and just because you’ve been in the Premier League you’re going to walk the division.

“As we know in the Championship, very few teams actually come down after being out of it for a long time and go straight back up.

“We had a really difficult start.

“We had a lot of players who felt like they shouldn’t be playing in the Championship, so it was quite difficult early on to settle the mentality of the team down.

“And then results actually picked up, and in our last 17 Championship games we only lost three – but we just drew too many.

“That was the challenge; we became very solid and very hard to beat but we just didn’t win enough games for the expectation level.

“Therefore, with the expectation of being in the top six, any time we lost a game it felt twice as bad as anywhere else I’d ever been.

“I understood the risk going into a job like that needing to have instant success.”

Rowett was appointed with the view of securing Stoke an immediate return to the top flight, as the club ended their decade-long stay in the Premier League with relegation at the end of last season.

However, he also had plans to build for the long-term at Stoke – something the club’s owners also wanted.

“One of the reasons I went into Stoke was because they’ve got fantastic owners and there has been great stability there over the years,” Rowett added.

Stoke chairman Peter Coates made it clear Rowett’s object was ‘returning Stoke to the Premier League as soon as possible’

“And it is actually quite hard to find in the Championship a club where you feel you might have a chance to build something.

“Ironically it was the shortest I’ve ever been at any of the clubs, so it didn’t work out that way.”

Discussing a return to the game, the former Burton, Birmingham and Derby boss insists he will be back before too long.

“I had three months out of the game after Birmingham, and that’s the only time I’ve had out in the last 15 years I’ve been coaching.

“I have to say it’s the only time you really enjoy yourself.

“I will come back in, I’m sure, and I’ll just have to wait for the next opportunity.”