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9 March 2021

Mark Molesley felt his Southend side fell way short of the standards set by recent positive displays as Blues fell to a 2-0 defeat to Tranmere Rovers this evening at Roots Hall.

An early strike from Paul Lewis set the visitors on their way before George Ray doubled Tranmere’s advantage midway through the first-half with a close-range header.

Southend were unable to respond and slipped to a fifth defeat from their last six at home since beating Barrow at the start of January, and after the full-time whistle, the Blues boss gave us his assessment of this evening’s defeat.

On a tough first-half…

“First-half we were way short. Against quality opposition, you can’t give them that time and space. We were second best to every ball, and they showed their quality and their experience. We have to compete better than that, and we have been competing a lot better than that.

“We’ve just had a bad 45 minutes and we can’t let that happen again. Tranmere are a well organised, very good outfit, who have quality all over the park and you just can’t give them that space, you can’t give them that respect and we’ve come up physically short in that first-half. That isn’t the benchmark that we set.

“Tranmere are a top side, probably the best side we’ve seen down here this season, so our season won’t be defined by that one result. But it’s another game where we’ve wasted an evening’s work today, and that’s not good enough. We can’t afford to waste another one.

On the struggles in front of goal…

“We’ve got take responsibility and we’ve got to keep believing. We’ve had good chances which we didn’t make the most of tonight – we’ve had an air shot, hit one over, hit the centre of the goal again.

“We’re in and around it, we are making chances and half chances against a good side, but we haven’t shown what they’ve shown in their delivery and their end product, which was a lot more clinical than ours. We’ve got to keep practising and keep working hard on that.

“The season won’t be defined against Tranmere; the season will be defined by what is in and around us, so we’ve got to quickly get back on that horse. We can’t feel too down, we’ve got to fix what we need to fix, but we need to get back to what we were doing.”

On the pressure to pick up results…

“Pressure has always been here since day one, nothing’s changed there. We feel pressure every day in everyday life. The job never changes, we’ve got to analyse, improve and get better.

“Simeon [Akinola] will hopefully be back Saturday which gives us some fresh energy and a fresh approach. But, on the whole, the last six or seven games have been good performances, but we need to improve up top. Today was a dip and we can’t afford that to happen again.

“We played good quality opposition tonight and we’ve come up short. We’ve got to make sure that doesn’t happen again on Saturday.”

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