SOUTHEND United manager Mark Molesley felt it was ‘men against boys’ during the Shrimpers’ 4-0 defeat to Harrogate Town at Roots Hall.

Blues were heavily beaten on the opening day of the League Two season.

And Molesley felt the setback showed how much work the club still have to do.

“It’s an indication of where we’re at at the moment,” said Molesley.

“It’s the youngest squad Southend have ever put out to play and we’ve got some experienced lads on the treatment table at the moment who we’ve got to come back.

“It’s a steep learning curve but one they will be a lot stronger for.

“We showed some naïve moments out there and it was men against boys in every sense of the word.

“We know we’ve got to improve and improve quickly too.

“We’re going to try and add a little bit of quality and get some experienced players back and hopefully we can turn things around quickly.

“It’s a steep learning curve and it was a tough afternoon for us.

“But it’s one we have to learn from and come back fighting.”

Blues were 2-0 down at the break before conceding two more goals after the break.

But Molesley is keen to see the right kind of reaction.

“We’ll lick our wounds, we will learn from it and move on,” said the 39-year-old.

“They’re hurting in there and so they should be.

“High standards have been set in training and they need to be met.

“It’s a collective thing so we have to let this hurt but then reflect quickly and move on.

“There were some harsh lessons today, some naïve moments and a couple of errors didn’t help either.

“But there’s no hiding from it.

“We know we’ve got to get better and we’ve got to get better quickly too.”

However, Molesley remains determined to turn things around.

“I always knew the size of the task and we won’t be deterred by today,” said the former Weymouth bos.

“If anything there will be more fire in the belly and we will be working even harder.”