SOUTHEND United boss Phil Brown strangely claims his team “murdered” Burton Albion in the League Two play-off semi-final first leg – despite lacking cutting edge – and has told his players to lift themselves ahead of the second leg.
The Blues were 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.”
Brown also wants the team and the fans to show some patience as they bid to turn things around, and 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.”