IN-FORM Southend United winger Michael Kightly believes improved confidence levels helped the Shrimpers stun table-topping Wigan Athletic on Saturday.

Kightly bagged Blues’ third goal in an impressive 3-1 win against the Latics at Roots Hall.

And the 32-year-old - who has now scored in three successive home games - feels Southend’s new found spirit has helped them find their best form under new manager Chris Powell.

“Football isn’t just a physical game, it’s hugely mental as well,” said Kightly.

“We were stuck in a bit of a rut a few weeks back and we were struggling to get out of it.

“No matter who you are and where you’ve played in the past, if you’re low on confidence it’s hard to perform well.

“But when you’re high on confidence it seems hard to play badly.

“The new gaffer has helped with that, he’s come in and he’s been clever with how he’s spoken to a few of us here and there and he’s installed that belief in us, which I think is showing now.

“Everyone has taken to him really well and taken his ideas on board too.

“Results also bring confidence and the togetherness has been brilliant too.

“I think that’s why we’re picking up points and we do feel as though we’ve turned a corner, but we want to keep it going and keep on progressing.”

Blues - who had lost eight games out of nine before Powell’s arrival - have now risen to 14th in the League One standings.

And Kightly was thrilled to seal the Shrimpers’ shock triumph by scoring their third goal of the afternoon.

“It was nice to get another goal and I think it was an important one too because the last 10 minutes could have been a bit nervy otherwise,” said Kightly.

“We were really good in the first half and played some really good stuff.

“It was disappointing to concede a goal in the second half but then we got the third one to kill it off, so it’s a pleasing win.”

And Kightly also felt Blues were able to use the difficult conditions to their advantage.

“The pitch isn’t great here at the minute,” explained Kightly.

“We’re playing it well but teams are coming here and for whatever reason the pitch seems to catch them out a little bit.

“It’s hard to play good football on, but we’re playing it well.

“We’ve got some good players in the team, but we’ve also shown we can do the ugly side of the game.”

>BLUES’ under-23 side are in action at Aveley tonight, kick-off 7.45pm.