boss Nathan Jones has said the club’s owners are “fully behind” him despite their winless start to the Championship season.

Stoke, who travel to leaders Swansea on Saturday, are bottom of the table with just two points from 10 games.

“I speak to the owners all the time and they are fantastic. They’ve trusted me more than I deserve,” said Jones.

“I know they are fully behind me and want me to succeed. I just have to repay that faith.”

Jones has only won three of 30 league matches since replacing Gary Rowett in January, their last victory coming at Blackburn Rovers on 6 April.

Tuesday’s defeat by Huddersfield Town, themselves winless in 19 games and 23rd in the table prior to the fixture, was the Potters’ third successive loss at home.

How did we reach this point?

After that 1-0 defeat at the Bet365 Stadium, Jones gave a series of remarkable post-match interviews which appeared to suggest he was either about to resign or be sacked.

The 46-year-old said he had already been given “enough time” to turn the Potters’ poor form around, admitting “it just hasn’t worked out”.

“I have tried to arrest the downward spiral but I haven’t been able to do that,” he added after the loss to Huddersfield.

“We are nowhere near where we need to be and I take full responsibility for that.”

He played down a suggestion that his interview on BBC Radio Stoke resembled a resignation speech, but did apologise for not repaying the “faith” shown by supporters.

With no announcement from the club forthcoming on Wednesday and amid reports he was about to be dismissed, it was then confirmed he would be holding his usual pre-match news conference on Thursday.

From ‘it hasn’t worked out’ to ‘I believe in what we do’

Speaking before Saturday’s trip to Swansea, Jones again accepted he has to be “held accountable” for Stoke’s disappointing start to the season, having finished the 2018-19 campaign in 16th.

But he also insisted the playing squad are still behind him, adding: “I don’t want to give up on this. I believe in what we do.

“I took this job on, I’m the leader. I’m a strong, hard-working manager and front things up. For however long I am here I will do that.

“If I felt that the players weren’t with me I wouldn’t be here. I know they are. Some are going through a tough time. However, I don’t think there is a lack of work-rate.

“Everyone has to step up regardless of the manager. Nothing is massively wrong, it’s just margins.

“If it doesn’t work out I will walk away with a poor win record but my pride intact.”

How much longer will he be given?

Despite saying the owners remain behind him – having held a meeting with vice-chairman John Coates on Thursday morning – Jones also conceded that their patience was not limitless.

“Fans are not stupid, people are not stupid,” said the former Luton manager. “I’ll hold my hands up – things have not been good enough here.

“I go around the pitch every single game and away fans sing that I’m getting sacked in the morning, but I’m strong.

“The owners won’t give me an infinite amount of time. Things will change in weeks rather than months if I don’t turn things around.

“We need to get the first win and then try to build from there. We will try to find ways to be creative at the weekend but also be wary of what Swansea City offer.”


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