FOOTBALL: MARK Robins admits even he was booing his players in the dressing room after watching what was in his words one of the worst football matches in a long time as the Sky Blues went down 2-0 at home to Southend.
Nile Ranger opened the scoring for Southend in only the second minute by beating Lee Burge with a low finish and Ryan Leanard’s deflected free kick gave the visitors a 2-0 lead at half-time.
The Sky Blues huffed and puffed but could find no way of breaking down a very physical Southend side, and Robins knows there is plenty of hard work ahead.
“I 100 per cent understand why the fans booed at the end,” said Robins. I’ve just been booing them in the dressing room.
“I think there’s a lot of work that needs to be done. For me it was difficult to watch against a powerful side. They’ve come with a game plan wanting to play route one football and they’ve managed to do that to decent effect.
“As a spectacle it certainly was a poor game overall. It was one of the worst I’ve seen for a long time and it’s something we need to put right pretty quick.
“It’s not been a great night but it’s one of those things where you’ve got to put a marker down and say this is going to be the lowest point and we’ve got to try and come through that. I was shell shocked watching that performance.”
Conceding early on came as a body blow to the home side and Robins feels his side simply failed to react.
“We shot ourselves in the foot early on and never regained any composure whatsoever.
“We’re trying to get some foothold in the game or start the game brightly, we didn’t do that and worse than that we’ve conceded a goal that put us on the back foot.
“It wasn’t great to say the least. It was really disappointing because we looked like rabbits frozen in the headlights. It’s clearly got to be better than that.
“We’ve still got games left until the end of the season and we still don’t look like we’re going to score a goal.
“We’ve got to demand that from each other. I need to try and get those players up the field as quickly as they can, working for each other and creating opportunities to score goals. We haven’t done that tonight and that’s a major disappointment.”
Asked if there any positives to take from the performance, Robins added: “The only positives I thought were the two centre halves. I thought they headed things and worked hard. Apart from that it was a disjointed performance.
“There are some that have worked hard. Farrend Rawson has won every header in the second half with Nathan Clarke, and Dion Kelly-Evans is small in stature but he’s got a heart bigger than most.
“The whole thing tonight was that we put ourselves on the back foot to start with but we were also nervous and we were playing the ball backwards and not playing the right pass and giving the ball away.
“All of those things were wrong so we need to change. There’s a lot of work to be done. Clearly that was something that I knew before I came in. I’m searching for a team or a group of players that are capable of winning football matches.”