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Southend United's Graham Coughlan: I'll quit while I'm ahead
SOUTHEND United's stand in manager Graham Coughlan joked he would retire after leading the team to a terrific 2-1 triumph at Port Vale on Saturday.
Coughlan stood in for Blues boss Paul Sturrock who missed the match at Vale Park with an infected leg.
And the Irishman was delighted to see the side secure a vital victory as they moved to within five points of the play-offs.
“It was very pleasing to get the three points and I think I might retire after one match and one win,” said Coughlan.
“I can't speak highly enough of the lads and I'm very proud of how they performed.
“I just stood on the sidelines and it was them who worked their socks off to get us the three points.”
First half goals from captain Sean Clohessy and striker Britt Assombalonga ensured victory against second placed Vale for Blues, who were forced to dig deep to stay on top after the break.
And Coughlan was left regretting not bringing on Neil Harris and Barry Corr sooner than the 84th minute.
“I think a more experienced manager would have been braver and made the substitutions earlier than I did,” said Coughlan, who was assisted by youth team coach Luke Hobbs.
“We needed to stop the bombs coming in on top of our goalkeeper and defence and when those two came on they more or less secured us the game.”
Eighth placed Southend will now be looking to build on the win they face three home games in succession against teams struggling towards the foot of the table.
The first of those comes against AFC Wimbledon tomorrow and Coughlan wants Blues to maintain a high standard of performance.
“The lads need to build on this and have the belief that they are one of the best teams in the league,” said Coughlan.
“They've shown what they can do but now it's about doing that consistently and that's what I've told them in the dressing room.”
However, Coughlan does not expect to still be in charge when the Dons visit Roots Hall as Sturrock should be back in the dug-out.
“We think the manager will be back and that's good news,” said Coughlan.
“He still thinks he's 21 and wants to kick every ball but he had to reluctantly accept what the doctor told him.
“I spoke to him before and after Saturday's game and there was a phone in the dug-out if we needed to call him or if he wanted to get in touch with us.
“I think he tracked what was happening on the Internet in the end and was delighted by the result but it's how we follow that up that matters the most now.”