Phil Brown believes the key to Saturday’s first away game of the season against Rotherham United will be a strong start
Blues played some fantastic football against Blackburn on the opening day of the season, but then fell to defeat in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night.
And the Southend boss will be looking for his side to get the ball down on the AESSEAL New York Stadium surface, but more importantly, he says, will be the first goal.
“Our performance on Saturday against Blackburn, when we got the ball, we played some football,” said Brown.
“Saturday is going to be a fantastic surface, it’s a new stadium and the challenge is to be a better footballing team than the opposition.
“The style of football is important but it’s the mentality of the group that is more important.
“The mentality of beating Blackburn and celebrating afterwards was great, but on Tuesday night we witnessed a League Two team in town and the difference in the mentality and different kind of football.
“We didn’t skin that cat and we have to learn, when a team becomes physical and direct, how to win them games.
“The most important part against Blackburn was the first goal, the most important part on Tuesday was the first goal and probably Saturday coming, the most important part will be the first goal.
“If their fans are up because they’ve got the first goal, then it will be a tough game.
“If we play the kind of football we know we can play, to get our noses in front, then it might be a tough day for them.”
Brown said Stephen McLaughlin and Rob Keirnan coming through 90 minutes were positives following the Newport defeat, along with Dru Yearwood making his professional debut.
But he isn’t confident of either Anthony Wordsworth or Michael Turner returning on Saturday.
“Woody will be on the coach to Rotherham, but whether he’s in the starting line-up or on the bench is a different question,” he added.
“Michael Turner is edging towards coming outside as well, but Woody is a lot closer.
“He’s a player that can win a game of football and the creativity side of him is something to behold and something I want out there.
“It’s only a matter of time and I’m counting down as opposed to up.
“But he probably needs a game behind closed doors or the U23 game on Wednesday next week before he can get in the first team.”