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10 August 2021

Southend boss Phil Brown gave a candid assessment of his side’s latest pre-season performance as Blues picked up a 2-1 win against a Norwich City u23s side at Roots Hall this evening.

The home side took the lead when Rhys Murphy won a penalty midway through the opening 45 minutes which he expertly dispatched for his second goal of pre-season.

The young Canaries equalised through Abu Kamara but Southend went back in front almost immediately when Jack Bridge rolled the ball home right on the stroke of half-time.

That was how the scoreline remained, but the Blues boss felt his side could have shown more, especially in that first-half, against an inexperienced Norwich side.

“I was disappointed in the first-half because for all we might have won the game but you’re playing against a very young team out there,” said Brown following the full-time whistle at Roots Hall

“You can only beat what’s in front of you but at the same time you can beat them in a way that sends a message out to people, and I don’t think we were sending the right message out in the first-half.

“In the second-half I thought we got after them and played some better football. I was more pleased with the second-half performance, which didn’t bring any goals strangely enough, than I was the first-half performance. Overall, a good 90-minute workout for 75% of the squad.”

Tonight was a first opportunity for Southend fans to get a glimpse of Josh Coulson who came on for the final 20 minutes against the Canaries and came close to capping his first appearance with a goal, showing the threat he will pose in both boxes.

Brown commented, saying: “That’s where [Coulson is] going to be a main threat. He’ll be a threat in both boxes.

“A niggling toe injury that takes a big 6ft3 giant out of your team, that’s what you think you’re missing, but the calmness was the thing that we’ve missed. That little bit of composure on the ball in the middle of the three.

“That’s not to say that John [White] hasn’t played well, or that [Shaun Hobson] hasn’t played well or that Nathan [Ralph] hasn’t played well, but there’s that little bit of not being used to the system, whereas Josh came on there and just owned it.”

With 11 days to go until the start of the National League season, the Blues boss was asked for his assessment of Southend’s preparations to date and said that he, quite frankly, was bored of pre-season and just raring to go on August 21st against King’s Lynn.

When discussing this pre-season, Brown said: “I’m bored with it to tell you the truth. I hated them as a player as you had to put your body, your soul, your mind on the line.

“I have been demanding but we haven’t really smashed them. We’ve been thinking about how we’ve done the running and if the injury situation remains the same, I’ll be delighted because we’re not at four or five injuries, it’s one or two little niggles which is a good sign of strength and conditioning work.

“All in all, from an injury point of view, I’d probably say 9/10; from a performance perspective, I’d say 6 in the first-half, 8 in the second-half, and that was a sign that we’re coming to a good level of fitness.

“Pre-season, results-wise, has been ok but in terms of performances, they’ve slowly but surely been getting better. The mentality is coming along very well and we’re all building towards the 21st of August and we’ve got to be because King’s Lynn will be ready.”

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