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Shortest-serving Premier League managers

Southampton’s Nathan Jones has started to come under pressure after just five games at St Mary’s with the Saints rooted to the bottom of the Premier League.

Four defeats in that time, the latest being a 1-0 loss to fellow strugglers Nottingham Forest on Wednesday leaving Southampton 4/7 To be Relegated, has left commentators trawling through the record books to see which managers have had the shortest tenures as so-called permanent bosses in the Premier League era. 

And all this when former Luton boss Jones had been unveiled on 10th November and then had five weeks out of the spotlight due to the World Cup. 

Here are the record-holding top five top-flight gaffers who hardly had time to take their coat off.

Quique Sanchez Flores (Watford, 85 days - September to December 2019) 

It takes something to be the shortest serving manager at Watford, but Quique Sanchez Flores takes the honour with a short second spell at the Vicarage Road helm. 

Javi Gracia had paid the price for a poor start to the season and an appearance in the FA Cup final the previous season did not give him enough credit in the bank. 

Flores returned and things were encouraging after the Hornets came back from two goals down to earn a draw against Arsenal, but it was difficult to be positive following an 8-0 defeat to Manchester City, in which they conceded five goals in the opening 15 minutes. 

The axe fell after defeat in a relegation six-pointer against Southampton with just one victory gained by the returning hero. He is now having a third go at being manager of La Liga side Getafe.

Bob Bradley (Swansea, 84 days - October to December 2016) 

Bob Bradley became the first American to manage a Premier League team when he was unveiled at Swansea and was pretty much ridiculed from the outset when he used such Stateside vocabulary as PK and road games. 

In such an environment and in the face of an underwhelming support base, he struggled from the outset and his 11-game tenure ended following a 4-1 defeat to West Ham. 

The Swans gained eight points from those games which was perhaps not disastrous, but they also conceded a record 29 goals in that spell and that’s what did for him in the end. Bradley remains in football as coach and sporting director of MLS outfit Toronto.

Frank de Boer (Crystal Palace, 77 days - June to September 2017) 

Frank de Boer had only just emerged from an 85-day spell in charge at Inter but any hopes that he would see out a three-year contract at Crystal Palace soon seemed completely unrealistic. 

The Dutchman replaced Sam Allardyce and the Selhurst faithful will have anticipated some football that was more pleasing to the eye, but for the first time in 93 years, the Eagles failed to score a goal in their first four league matches. 

A 2-1 win over Ipswich was not enough to save him and, eight days before he reached the duration of his San Siro tenure, he was replaced by another former Inter boss, Roy Hodgson. 

De Boer’s last job as a manager was with the Netherlands and he was sacked after their disappointing Euro 2020 campaign and replaced by Louis van Gaal.

Rene Meulensteen (Fulham, 75 days - December 2013 to February 2014) 

Rene Meulensteen had joined Fulham as Martin Jol’s assistant and happened to be in the right place at the right time when the former Tottenham manager was sacked following five straight defeats. 

Although he was at the helm just two days less than De Boer, he took charge of the Cottagers for 13 league games due to the hefty festive fixture list. 

However, he won only three of them and when he opened his post on 14th February, he didn’t open any Valentine cards, just his P45. 

It was the day he was replaced by Felix Magath. Meulensteen now works as an assistant coach with the Australian national team.

Les Reed (Charlton, 41 days - November to December 2006) 

Jones has already avoided the distinction of having the shortest spell in charge of a Premier League team, which goes to Charlton’s Les Reed. 

The continuity brought by Alan Curbishley’s long spell in charge at The Valley was a distant memory, even though Reed had had a spell as Curbs’ assistant at the Addicks in between a variety of roles he held with the FA. 

He had replaced Howard Wilkinson as technical director at Soho Square, but went back to Charlton as Iain Dowie’s assistant before being moved up following the manager’s dismissal in November 2006. 

In all, he was in charge for eight games, losing six of them, including a League Cup defeat to League Two Wycombe. 

He left by mutual consent on Christmas Eve and was replaced by Alan Pardew, who couldn’t keep the Addicks up. 

They have never been back in the top flight while Reed now works as an advisor to National League side Wrexham.

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