RYAN Cresswell insists Southend United must improve defensively in order to end their run of bad results.

Blues were brushed aside 3-0 at promotion rivals Exeter City on Saturday and have now not won in normal time in their last five outings.

Paul Sturrock's side have also conceded 11 goals in those games.

And Cresswell knows that cannot be allowed to continue if Blues are to work their way back up the League Two table.

“We spoke before the game about how we need to try and keep a clean sheet because we can’t keep conceding goals and that's still the case unfortunately,” said Cresswell.

“We’re still talking about keeping tight at the back and we did concede sloppy goals today which is frustrating.

“But in the first half we didn’t do much wrong until they got that goal just before half-time which was a real blow because we’d been on top.

“In the second-half we changed formation slightly and unfortunately we conceded two goals that we’re disappointed with.

“We need to record a clean sheet as soon as possible so we’ve definitely got to work on things because clean sheets mean we don’t lose matches.”

Blues' last clean sheet came at Dagenham & Redbridge on Boxing Day and since then they have played six times in 18 days.

However, Cresswell refused to use the hectic schedule as an excuse and is instead focusing on securing an improved result when Southend head to Brentford for an FA Cup third round replay tomorrow night.

“Maybe we were a little leggy in the second-half but we can’t use that as an excuse because we’re professional footballers,” said Cresswell, 25.

“The best thing for us now is to bounce back on Tuesday in what will be a very tough game.

“Sometimes a rest is a good thing but that’s certainly not the case here because we want to get back out there and put in a good performance.”