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10 April 2021

Phil Brown’s second spell as Southend United manager began with a 0-0 draw at home against Crawley this afternoon, but the Blues boss feels his side do have the quality to get out of trouble.

Both sides had chances to win it on a chilly April afternoon, with James Tilley seeing his effort cleared off the goal line by Tyler Cordner before Nathan Ferguson struck the foot of the post early in the second-half with a low shot from the edge of the area.

Crawley were then thwarted by a fantastic reaction save from Mark Oxley who kept out a point-blank effort from Ashley Nadesan as the two sides had to settle for a point each, and after the full-time whistle had blown in Essex, Brown gave us his thoughts on the draw.

On the performance…

“I was disappointed in the quality of the game, but I’ve got to take the conditions into consideration. I can’t just blame two teams going at each other, which they were. Two sides were going at each other, battling for every inch, fighting for every cause, fighting for every challenge, but that quality eluded both sides.

“There were moments for both teams. We could have won it but we could have lost it as well. Ok, it is a point at the start of my journey, but the clean sheet is something I can build on and I’ve always done that – I’ve always felt I could build on a clean sheet.

“But if I look at the finishing 11 and the average age of the finishing 11, it’s maybe something to work with for sure, but I’ve got to get those senior pros that we’ve got at this football club out of the treatment room and see if they can go on that field of play, cross the white line and help them kids.”

On another game without a goal…

“We all know that [we need goals] and what we know is that goals win games of football. Clean sheets win games of football also, so we’ve got that side of the fence right, so we’ve got enough spirit in the camp, enough organisation and enough commitment to keep a clean sheet.

“But that quality in the final third that eluded us today is something that every club, every manager wants. Have I got a couple of million quid to get someone in? The answer is no; have I got a transfer win open? The answer is no, so I’ve got to work with what I’ve got.

“If it’s going to be a set-piece that wins us a game of football, then all well and good. I think we had a couple of chances that if we just go to the video and show the players, when we get in those areas again, if we put the quality in the penalty box and get enough players in there, and that’s what it is it’s the commitment to go forward, it’s the commitment to attacking.

“When you’re down the bottom of the table, you’re looking at the league table, lacking confidence thinking shall I, shan’t I? Do they want me to go into the penalty box or not? The answer to that is going to be yes from me because we need goals to win games.”

On having enough quality to stay up…

“I think so. There’s enough spirit for sure, there’s enough quality, it’s just the style of play that we’ve got to transform. The previous incumbent, I’ve got no disrespect for them whatsoever, had a style of play that was completely foreign to me.

“I remember a couple of years back we let Jack Bridge go on loan to Bournemouth, which I thought at the time was a strange thing, but Jack is a technical player. He couldn’t get in the Southend team, but he went on loan to Bournemouth and he came back and told me all about the training sessions and what their philosophy is, and that’s what I’ve witnessed with one or two of these players.

“I can’t change that overnight and I don’t want to change that overnight. I think the technical side of the game shall always be admired from afar and a near, and I’ve admired some of the qualities these players are bringing. But that gritty determination, that steeliness, that resolve that’s required to win a game of football at this level is totally different. That’s what I’ve got to try and get across to them in a short space of time, which is my job next week.”

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