Nathan Jones talked Stoke on the EFL podcast

Nathan Jones opens up about Stoke on the EFL podcast

I’ve tried to arrest the downward spiral and I’ve been unable to do that

You really felt the pressure had got to the players then and you could only see one way out. I didn’t want it to end there because sometimes it only takes a matter of weeks to turn things round and we believed we were doing good work, that’s the thing.

“I wouldn’t say I was expecting to [get sacked] but it wouldn’t have come as any great surprise the way it was and because Huddersfield were below us in the league and they were on a poor run themselves. We controlled the game and Huddersfield probably had two or three chances: one in the first few minutes and one when they scored.

“I was saying to the players, I didn’t want this to be the last game because if it had been, it would’ve been a shame because we’d have been remembered for that game and we did better work than that.

“I spoke to the owners first thing on the Wednesday and I said that I wanted to continue, it’s just that when you’re in the limelight or you get interviewed straight after the game, sometimes emotions are raw and if that had been the last game that I’d taken, it would’ve been a shame but I couldn’t have had any arguments.”

Why did it go wrong

A number of factors,” said Jones. “We made big errors, missed key chances and we had a lot of bad luck. That’s not just me sitting here sour grapes because, over a period of time, you get what you deserve but, at times, things that were happening in games were really difficult to fathom.

That’s what really contributed because with the owners that I had, with the patience they were showing me, we probably only needed two or three more wins.

They would have seen what was going on underneath, they would’ve seen the work that we were doing but they did see the work that we were doing behind the scenes and how we’d united the club and everyone was behind us. And they would’ve persevered with it, it’s just we got to a point where it was getting very difficult to see things changing and I hold my hands up for that.

But in terms of our performances, our numbers, our possession, chances created, all the numbers on expected goals, we’ve said this a number of times, we were top six. We should have been top six, but, for a number of factors, we had a lot of bad luck go against us, which contributed to us not getting the results that we should have.”

Was the pressure affecting you

It does affect you because when you lose games – I haven’t been used to losing games in my life, really. I never lost this amount of games in any season, since I’ve been a coach. I’ve probably been far more successful as a coach and a manager than I was as a player.

I’m the type to take things on myself. I didn’t once come out and blame anyone because it’s on me. I’m the leader. I was the leader, I was employed to lead that club and that’s what I endeavour to do, day in, day out. I try to take a lot of pressure off my players, pressure off my staff, sometimes, some would say, too much. But that’s how I’ve been, that’s who I am and yes, it does get to you. I feel more for the people around me than for me.”

There’s a natural process of de-stressing because you haven’t got the things on your mind that you had before but I’ve kept busy in terms of visiting family, I’ve been out at games, I’ve watched games and it’s time for me now to reflect. It’s a time for me to reinvigorate my knowledge, my player knowledge, of team’s systems.

“I’ll evaluate my own tenure because that’s important, I’ll also evaluate my time at Luton and what went well there because I haven’t had any time to do that yet. We had an incredibly successful three years but straight from that, I came straight into a real tough task at Stoke.

There’s a lot of things that I’m planning on doing in my time now. I don’t want to be out of work for a long period of time, I want to get refreshed, I want to make sure I learn from this experience. I want to make sure that I use these tools to be better so that when the next opportunity comes, I’m far better equipped than I was 10 months ago.”

I don’t think you can ever have any regrets; you make decisions with the information that you have available at the time and hindsight is a wonderful thing,” Uones said. “Realistically, at no point did I want to leave Luton. We’d had a number of opportunities and there was a lot of talk. I’d been linked with pretty much everything.

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