SOUTHEND United striker Simon Cox insists the Shrimpers must be stronger as a unit when they head to MK Dons this weekend.

Tuesday’s 4-3 defeat at Shrewsbury Town means Blues have taken just one point from eight games during a miserable run of results which has also seen them concede 24 goals.

And Cox knows immediate improvements are needed.

“We’ve all got to do so much better as a unit when we defend,” said the Shrimpers striker.

“We shouldn’t be scoring three goals away from home and not coming away with anything.

“Sometimes you can’t legislate for individual errors but we have to try and help a team-mate out and sense danger better.

“Could we have done more to help Elvis (Bwomono) when he had the ball and for the third one we should bring him down and take a clever booking if that’s what you want to call it.

“We need to be a bit more streetwise and smart and it needs to mean more to us.

“It’s got to hurt and it is.”

The Shrimpers have still yet to win this season and sit second from bottom in the League One standings.

But Cox still feels Blues are capable of working their way up the table.

“The boys aren’t happy at all because we look at ourselves as a competitive team in this division but at the minute we’re shipping too many goals,” said Cox.

“It’s got to change and it has to change now really.

“We have to put it right and we’ve got players in there who can do things that I haven’t seen from a group of players in a long time.

“But at the minute we’re frustrating ourselves and everyone around us because it’s not clicking for some reason.”

And Cox feels Blues must up the work-rate to turn things around.

“We need to run further, harder, tackle harder and do all the horrible nitty, gritty stuff which should be a given,” said the striker.

“But at the minute it’s not happening for us.”

The Shrimpers did look threatening against the Dons and Cox was able to bag his first goal of the season late on.

However, the 32-year-old took little satisfaction in hitting the back of the net.

“It’s nice to get off the mark but I’d rather not score and come away with three points,” said Cox.

“The team is the most important thing and Saturday’s game is huge for us.”