Nathan Jones hit back at his critics after steering Southampton past Man City in the Carabao Cup, saying how baffled he was at a non-League manager criticising him.
Southampton knocked out the favourites to reach the semi-finals as Jones’ side pulled off a remarkable 2-0 win to book a last-four clash with Newcastle.
The Saints boss lost his opening four matches and his side still sit bottom of the Premier League, however, he has put together back-to-back wins in cup competitions at Crystal Palace and this victory over City.
Jones referenced a comment made by Paul Doswell, manager of Havant & Waterlooville, who said he was out of his depth on BBC Radio Solent.
He said: “I don’t know if I changed perceptions. Within 10 minutes of the Brighton game, I was inept.
“The non-League manager criticised me the other day. It baffled me. I don’t speak about Havant & Waterlooville. I don’t speak about levels I don’t know about.”
“I’m really pleased with the performance,” said Jones. “I thought we were excellent as a team.
“We were aggressive, we were organised, we went after the game, it wasn’t a smash and grab.
“I’m proud of the players and proud of the staff. I’ve had people calling me out, I’ve even had non-League managers calling me out saying I’m not good enough.
“It’s a proud moment for me. To be on the same level as him (Guardiola) is wonderful, it’s what I’ve worked very, very hard over my 33-year career to do.
“I’ve believed I’ve earned the right to be here. Whether people think I’m good enough or not doesn’t really affect me because I’ve been questioned at every level I’ve been at and I like to respond.
“It’s been tough but it’s what you’re paid for as a manager.”
Guardiola feared poor Man City performance
Pep Guardiola felt his Premier League champions were destined to struggle on the south coast regardless of the team he picked.
He said: “Who knows whether with Kevin and Erling it would have been different? I don’t know it.
“We tried to do our best and we rotate the team when we played against Chelsea after the Premier League and it’s good.
“I understand how this business works. Always we try to have everybody involved and everybody has to do it but today was not the case.
“I had the feeling today it doesn’t matter what line-up I am selecting, we are performing this way. Don’t ask me why. This is my experience.
“It doesn’t matter today the line-up we choose, it would happen because we were not here. And that’s why when this happen, they deserve it.”