SOUTHEND United manager Phil Brown felt his players showed Premier League potential in their 2-0 defeat to Hull City in the fourth round of the FA Cup at Roots Hall on Saturday.
Brown insisted he was proud of the performance as the spirited Shrimpers more than matched their top flight opponents before conceding twice in the final 30 minutes.
And the Blues boss is now backing some of his side to go on and play at the highest level of the game.
“I think we saw out there that there are players in our team who could one day go on and play in the Premier League themselves,” said Brown, who was facing his former side.
“I think the players should be proud of how they played against a top team and they certainly gave it a really good go.
“It was pleasing to see but we just didn’t maybe have the belief we needed in the final third of the pitch and I think Hull’s extra quality in that area won them the game in the end.
“I actually think we were capable of more but all the battling qualities were there so I can’t be too critical because Hull came and did a professional job on us.”
Matt Fryatt scored both of Hull’s goals to continue his impressive scoring sequence against the Shrimpers.
But before his brace, Blues twice came close to opening the scoring with Barry Corr having a header well saved by Steve Harper before Michael Timlin struck the crossbar from long range.
And Brown felt the game could have turned out differently if either of those efforts had gone in.
“The first goal was always going to be important and we just didn’t get the breaks we needed to get it,” said Brown.
“It was a good solid display but now we’re back to our main focus of the season and that’s winning promotion.
“If we can keep on playing like this then we have a real chance and it’s important we’re on form when we go to Dagenham tomorrow because they’re a strong side.”