Boss admits his 'players are hurting'.
Southend United manager Phil Brown admits that he and his players are 'bitterly disappointed', after missing out on automatic promotion following defeat at Morecambe in Sky Bet League Two.
A win for Bury ensured their rise to Sky Bet League One, after Blues went down 3-1 at the Globe Arena, despite having the majority of the play in Lancashire.
“It's the same as any dressing room when you lose a game of football, however, the play-offs are in our own hands,” Brown said honestly after the defeat to the Shrimps.
“Reaching 84 points is a great achievement but to miss out on automatic promotion is bitterly disappointing. I thought the way we came out at the start of the second half was nothing short of magnificent.
“The conditions played a big part today and the second goal killed us, to a certain extent. We had to throw caution to the win towards the end and made brave and positive changes, but it wasn't enough in the end.”
But the boss is backing his players to respond well.
The Blues take on Stevenage in the first leg of the play-off semi-final next Sunday, looking to take an advantage into the game at Roots Hall four days later.
“It's quite simple – you've got a group of players in there and you can see how much they hurt. We have to turn that pain into joy and into a good performance against Stevenage,” Brown said.
“We have to turn that negative into a massive positive, and only the players can do that.
“Everybody came here and we expected a carnival atmosphere. We expected Morecambe to be difficult opponents, and they were. Maybe, in the end, it was a bridge too far for us.”