Nathan Jones realizes that time is not on Southampton’s side in the fight for survival

Nathan Jones has admitted timing is not in Southampton’s favor but has warned that expectations must be managed as they start the new year rooted in the Premier League.

Jones began his South Coast tenure with two defeats in two games after taking over from Ralph Hasenhuttl following his sacking in November.

After a late loss to Fulham on New Year’s Eve, the Saints entertain fellow contenders Nottingham Forest in the deciding match at St Mary’s Stadium after five league defeats in a row.

“I know it can go bad quickly and I don’t want that to happen,” said former Luton boss Jones.

“I know what we are good at, I know what improvements we have made or are trying to make, and I know what levels we are achieving in training and matches. Now we have to make sure we continue this.

“It won’t happen overnight, but it has to happen sooner than it is because time will eventually run out.

“But you cannot change the absolute direction of a football club in a matter of weeks. With all due respect, I want to live up to expectations here.”

Despite their desperate form, Southampton could break out of the top three if they secured their first home win since beating Chelsea in August on Wednesday.

Forest are also in the relegation zone, two points clear of the Saints and haven’t tasted an away win this season.

However, Southampton are the weakest home team in the league with just six points from 24, and Jones has warned the St Mary’s faithful that they must stay on the sidelines to help his stuttering side.

“There is no doubt that the players know the importance of the game and the situation,” added the Welshman.

“We have to make sure we are the best version of ourselves to give the fans something to lose and they really need to support us because we haven’t won enough games this year.

“There are moments in football that can change confidence, change momentum, change everything. When you start well and score the first goal, it can give you confidence.

“And the crowd has a big part to play in that. Negative crowd attitudes or background noise can have a negative impact on players.

“We have a lot of younger players in the team who need help sometimes and if they get it they can be great players.

“But there’s a process to get to it. And now we have just found ourselves in the middle of this process. So they’re all in this together.

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