Blues boss Sol Campbell remained upbeat despite watching his Southend United side lose 1-0 to Sunderland at the Stadium of Light this afternoon.
Luke O’Nien’s header in the first-half was all that separated the sides, with Southend showing a lot of fighting spirit in a game where they were unfortunate not to come away with something.
After the full-time whistle blew on Wearside, Campbell spoke to the press to give his thoughts on the afternoon and he was full of praise for his defeated Blues.
On the narrow defeat…
It’s another defeat but the performances are getting better. We were a little bit nervous in the beginning, but I think they grew as the game went on.
There was a shout for a penalty – I thought it hit his arm straight away but the referee’s missed that one – but the lads played really well. The main thing is the performance; it’s definitely gone up another level and I’m pleased with that.
The guys have worked extremely hard. It’s a big pitch, they’ve run their socks off and it’s a good feeling when I see the players starting to link up together, starting to keep the ball and starting to ask questions of the opposition.
On keeping in the game…
It’s a great performance and yes, we’ve lost, but we’ve stayed in the game and we just need a little bit of luck now in front of goal, something to go our way, but you’ve got to keep on working hard to earn that luck.
The main thing for me was that the lads kept in the game and kept on playing. We just need that little bit of finishing, a little bit of movement at the end and to get fitter so that once we do create we have something to latch onto and cause the opposition more problems.
We’re holding the play, we started moving the ball in the midfield and started linking up. It is coming, the fitness is coming as well, so overall, it’s a good performance from the lads. It’s another loss but the performance is better for sure.
On the back three…
The back three was great. With the goal, we just have to be aware of players floating in. We’ve got three at the back and sometimes that gives you the right to step in. You’re not a flat back four, you’ve just got to be a bit cuter than that to make sure that those guys don’t sneak in.
I thought the back three played really well, held the ball, passed the ball, made good decisions and covered each other. I can’t ask for anymore.
The lads have given everything and they’ve left everything on the pitch, and that’s what you want. As a manager, that’s what I require and they’re going in the right direction. The performance was definitely up a notch.