As days to forget go, it will have been hard to top this one in Southampton’s season so far.
It was difficult to decide which was worse – the offering on the pitch or supporter revolt in the stands, which went to new levels of toxic as Southampton slid to Premier League defeat again and overshadowed another outstanding performance from Brentford who are dreaming of a European tour.
As the team they had travelled to watch unravelled in front of them, the away fans cranked up the heat on their under-fire manager with a string anti-Nathan Jones chants.
Take your pick from which one would have been the hardest for Jones to listen to as his doubters piled in.
‘You don’t know what you’re doing,’ came first with Southampton two down following quick-fire first-half goals from Ben Mee and Bryan Mbeumo and after Jones withdrew promising midfielder Romeo Lavia, admittedly not long after he has been booked.
Pressure continues to grow on Nathan Jones after Southampton suffered a heavy defeat
The Bees ran rampant against their opposition and have dreams of European football
Ben Mee headed in the opener to give Brentford the lead after 41 minutes of the contest
Bryan Mbeumo’s strike three minutes later delivered a sting to Southampton’s hopes
There was also an airing of ‘Nathan Jones, your football is s***,’ he was urged to ‘get out of our club’ while Southampton fans also joined in as Brentford’s chanted about their manager getting sacked in the morning and team going down.
One things feisty Jones can never be accused of is hiding.
At full-time he fronted up, taking his players towards the supporters and responsibility on his shoulders, before later coming out fighting.
‘I don’t want to moonwalk out down the tunnel,’ he said. ‘Stand up and be counted and I want my players to do that. I’ve never shied away from a challenge. That’s the right thing to do.
‘The fans saw a performance today that justified those sayings [chants] and that’s fine. I’ve got broad shoulders so I take everything on myself.’
Including the reason why Southampton have struggled for Premier League results.
They have one just one out of seven league games, despite making progress in both cup competitions.
‘I’ve compromised certain principles because of one, personnel, but, two, the way people want to play, because of fans and so on. I’ve listened to people and it’s been to my detriment but no more,’ Jones explained.
Mathias Jensen added a third late on to see the Bees move into the Premier League’s top seven
The result leaves Brentford a lofty seventh in the table ahead of Liverpool and Chelsea
MATCH FACTS AND RATINGS
Brentford (4-3-3): Raya 7.5; Hickey 5.5 (Roerslev 61, 6), Pinnock 7.5, Mee 8, Henry 8; Norgaard 7.5, Jensen 8.5 (Damsgaard 82), Dasilva 7.5 (Janelt 61, 6); Mbeumo 8 (Zanka 82), Toney 7, Wissa 8 (Schade 74, 6.5).
Subs not used: Cox, Ghoddos, Ajer, Lewis-Potter.
Scorer: Mee 41, Mbeumo 44, Jensen
Manager: Thomas Frank 8
Southampton (4-2-3-1): Bazunu 6; Bree 6, Bednarek 6, Salisu 8, Perraud 6, Lavia 7 (Alcaraz 65, 6), Diallo 6 (Onuachu 46, 6); Edozie 6.5 (Walcott 65, 6.5), Ward-Prowse 6.5, Elyounoussi 6.5 (Sulemana 46, 6); Adams 5 (Armstrong 82).
Subs not used: Caballero, Maitland-Niles, Lyanco, Aribo, Armstrong.
Booked: Lavia, Salisu
Manager: Nathan Jones 6
Referee: Darren Bond
‘I’ve gone away from that [his successful methods at Luton], maybe because it’s the Premier League, maybe because of certain players and internationals, but no more.
‘Now I will live and die by my own philosophy.’
With the fans turning in the manner they did, that situation looks even harder to salvage than rock-bottom Southampton’s in the table.
Asked if he will get the time to make the changes he wants, Jones said: ‘I don’t know, that’s not a question for me. But I hope so.’
In stark contrast to the mood around Southampton, The GTech Community Stadium was jumping once more after another brilliant home win and performance that saw them climb up to seventh.
They are now unbeaten in nine in the league and head to table topping Arsenal confident they can win and that even greater rewards could lie ahead.
Thomas Frank said when asked about the prospect of Europe: ‘I am a dreamer but I’m so conscious about this relentless league. We need to work hard to keep the position we are in.’
Mee, Bryan Mbeumo and Mathias Jensen were Brentford’s scorers and three of their standouts performers.
But there were many in Frank’s side who outclassed their opponents all over the pitch.
Brentford had to wait until the 41st minute for their opener but fully deserved it by then, Mee rising bravely to head in Mbeumo’s cross and thankfully climbing to his feet after a sickening clash of heads with Mohammed Salisu briefly left both men floored.
Southampton gave debuts to Kamaldeen Sulemana and Paul Onuachu but they couldn’t make an impact in the second half
Thomas Frank celebrates in front of the fans who will have been happy with what they saw
Three minutes later they doubled their lead when another fine Brentford move ended with Mbeumo converting Yoane Wissa’s cutback.
Just as against Newcastle in their Carabao Cup semi-final second leg defeat on Tuesday, conceding two goals in quick succession – this time even closer together – had given Southampton an uphill task.
Jones’s attacking changes, including the half-time introduction of deadline day signings, winger Kamaldeen Sulemana and striker Paul Onuachu, gave them more threat though they were unable to turn that into goals.
Brentford were having no such problems and Southampton’s misery was complete when the excellent Jensen was allowed to ghost into the box and head in Rico Henry’s cross to make it 3-0.
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