Southend United manager Phil Brown: Don't be downbeat

Keeping the faith — Phil Brown is trying to lift the mood in the Southend camp ahead of Saturday’s semi-final second leg

Keeping the faith — Phil Brown is trying to lift the mood in the Southend camp ahead of Saturday’s semi-final second leg

First published in Sport by

SOUTHEND United manager Phil Brown has told his players to lift themselves ahead of Saturday’s play-off semi-final second leg with Burton Albion at Roots Hall.

Blues were narrowly beaten 1-0 by the Brewers at the Pirelli Stadium on Sunday.

But Brown has ordered the squad not to remain downbeat about the defeat.

“I sat all the players down at training yesterday because there was an air of despondency I wanted to get rid of because it’s still only half-time in this tie,” said the Shrimpers boss.

“It may well be the longest half-time ever and there’s more time to be thinking about things than just ranting and raving but we’re still very much in this.

“We statistically murdered Burton on Sunday and had more shots and possession than them.

“We were lacking in the final third but if we can improve that on Saturday and play just as well as we did everywhere else at the weekend then we do still have a real chance.”

However, Brown also wants the team and the fans to show some patience as they bid to turn things around.

And he believes his side’s fitness levels could see them get on top the longer the game goes on.

“We have 90 minutes now, we’re one goal behind and could well have to show some patience,” said the 54-year-old.

“Our fitness levels are fantastic and that could come in to play, especially if the match ends up going in to extra time, which could well be possible.

“I thought the energy levels were fantastic on Sunday and it was also very positive how the young players responded to a pressurised situation.

“That bodes well for the second leg and I’m sure the fans will be right behind us too.”

More than 6,500 tickets have already been sold in the home end for the game and Brown wants the fans to play their part in the Shrimpers coming out on top.

“The supporters were phenomenal on Sunday and the number we took was actually as big as one of Burton’s home attendances this season, which tells you everything you need to know about how good the backing we got was,” said Brown.

“Those fans were really cheering us on to get a goal, which unfortunately we couldn’t get.

“But they stayed behind to clap us off and we want them to make it a special atmosphere again on Saturday now.”

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