Nathan Jones said he has “no idea” if he will be spared the Southampton axe following his side’s crushing 2-1 defeat against 10-man Wolves at St Mary’s.
Southampton remain rooted to the foot of the Premier League after Wolves came from a goal down, and a man down, to leave Jones scrambling for his future.
Furious Saints fans chanted “get out of our club”, and “you don’t know what you’re doing”, while a young supporter was escorted out of the stadium as he attempted to present Jones with a giant P45 following debutant Joao Gomes’ 87th-minute winner for the visitors.
As the full-time whistle was greeted by a chorus of deafening boos, Jones headed straight down the tunnel.
“I have never done that in my life before,” said Jones. “In terms of 390 games, I have never done that, but I am not sure if me going round clapping would have shown respect.”
Asked if his seventh defeat in eight Premier League matches as Southampton boss was likely to be his last in charge, he replied: “I have no idea.”
A week on from Jones’s bizarre post-Brentford defeat rant, in which he claimed he had “compromised principles” since taking over at Southampton, the anxiety was etched over his face before Saturday’s game, taking his seat in the dugout pensively chewing gum.
But for an hour of what had the feeling of a must-win fixture for the former Luton boss, Southampton looked on course to take three points.
Carlos Alcaraz scored on his first Premier League start for the Saints after 24 minutes before Wolves were reduced to 10 a few moments later when former Southampton midfielder Mario Lemina was awarded a second yellow for apparent dissent towards referee Jarred Gillett.
Ten minutes into the second half, Ghana international Kamaldeen Sulemana should have marked an impressive debut by doubling his side’s lead only for Wolves goalkeeper Jose Sa to pounce.
The game suddenly changed and a nervy period ensued for the hosts. Jan Bednarek got his feet in a muddle and comically bundled into his own net after 72 minutes before Gomes struck with a fine finish three minutes from time.
“I didn’t want them to go down to 10 men because you are on a hiding to nothing,” added Jones.
“It sounds weird to say, because you should beat 10 men if you have 11, but we didn’t and we looked nervous at times in the second half and then we got opportunities and we didn’t take them.
“We had a glorious chance to make it two, and if we do that we would probably go on and win the game. It is a different mindset, a different atmosphere, and when we didn’t do that you are always going to be susceptible to a sucker-punch.
“We didn’t demonstrate enough quality, lost control in the second half, and they showed that ounce of quality to get that second goal.”
Southampton, who travel to Chelsea next weekend, are in increasing danger of losing their Premier League status, but 15th-placed Wolves, vastly improved under Julen Lopetegui’s tutelage, moved clear of the relegation zone.
“I have a very good opinion about him (Jones),” said Lopetegui in defence of the Welshman. “I have seen the last matches and they have been very unlucky.
“They have a good team and good players. It is going to be a hard, long race for them, for us, and a lot of teams. We have a lot of finals in front of us and we have to continue working.”