SOUTHEND United manager Phil Brown insists he is more concerned about his side stopping goals than scoring them.
The Shrimpers host Oxford United at Roots Hall tomorrow looking to get their season back on track after four games without a win.
But, despite their failure to finish in front of goal, it is his team’s defending which Brown has been working on improving in training.
“We need to work on the mentality of the players because we’ve been shipping goals like we weren’t doing last season,” said Brown.
“I’ve been working on getting that clean sheet mentality back in to them and if you’re not conceding goals than the other end tends to take care of itself.”
Blues have let in six goals in their last four games and have managed to score just three times themselves.
However, Brown does not feel his team need to work too much on their shooting at the training ground.
“I don’t think going out there, banging balls in to an empty net on a training ground gets you in to a position to score goals on a Saturday,” said the Shrimpers boss.
“That doesn’t really work for me. One of the best goalscorers around outside the Premier League at the moment is Britt Assombalonga.
“I looked at him when I first arrived here and he had an unbelievable belief and mentality.
“But I also spoke to Graham Coughlan about when Britt had a barren spell and was told he kept on doing the right things and he kept on believing.
“If you keep making the runs and get in the right areas you will start scoring goals again. “ And Brown also used Assombalonga’s former strike partner at Roots Hall, Gavin Tomlin, as another example of how to bounce back from a disappointing run in front of goal.
“Gavin was in the same situation as Britt and he went something like 13 or 14 games without scoring,” said Brown.
“But I believe he did an article in the Echo talking about how the manager stood by him and that’s what you have to do.
“You have to keep on believing and put faith in your players who you think will score goals and that’s what I’m doing.”
However, Brown faces plenty of selection dilemmas for tomorrow’s game.
Centre-back Cian Bolger is back from suspension while Adam Thompson has recovered from a shin injury and they will do battle with Luke Prosser and Mads Ibenfeldt for a place in defence.
But Brown also faces a real headache in the midfield.
“I’ve got some decisions to make,” admitted Brown.
“Gary Deegan played well at AFC Wimbledon and brought in strong mentality but that’s on the back of two good performances from Ryan Leonard and Conor Clifford.
“I have Jack Payne to think about and Will Atkinson too but hopefully I’ll pick the right team.”