TONY Mowbray wants to see a response from his side after watching them produce one of the worst performances under his reign away at Southend on Saturday.
Despite being backed by another strong away following with almost 1,800 fans making the long journey to Southend, Mowbray’s side fell to a disappointing 3-0 defeat at Roots Hall.
Tyrone Barnett bagged a brace after Jack Payne had fired Southend in front and although the host were reduced to ten men after former City midfielder Gary Deegan was sent off for two bookable offences, the Sky Blues failed to find a breakthrough.
And Mowbray admits the absence of Adam Armstrong, Jacob Murphy and John Fleck was a big contributing factor behind Saturday’s defeat.
“I think we struggled from the start,” said Mowbray. “We knew we were coming up against a physical side and we didn’t rise to the occasion.
“We needed to do more in the final third. We had plenty of shots but didn’t create many chances in the game and that’s disappointing.
“We were without Murphy and Armstrong and we missed their presence in the final third. We missed John Fleck as well as he is really influential on the ball and drives us forward.
“Gael is getting up to speed with the way we play at the moment and Stephen Hunt came in to make his debut today, he was full of energy.
“I’m not making any excuses though as we simply weren’t good enough but I’m sure these players will get us going again.
“This group of players has got us into the position we’re in today and we should remember that. We need to respond next week.”
Jim O’Brien almost fired the Sky Blues in front on 15 minutes with a stunning effort from 25 yards out but Dan Bentley was able to tip the ball over the bar to safety.
It was Southend who went ahead eight minutes later when Sam Ricketts lost possession and Jack Payne was able to beat Reice Charles-Cook with a low finish into the bottom corner.
A second goal came on the half-hour mark. Stephen Hendrie was given space through the middle and he played in Tyrone Barnett who scored with a low finish.
The Sky Blues were given a helping hand eight minutes after the break when Deegan was shown a second yellow card for a foul on half-time substitute James Maddison.
But it was the hosts who remained on top for most of the match. Hendrie forced Charles-Cook into a smart save before Maddison fired a curling shot inches wide on 64 minutes.
A third and final goal came three minutes later after Charles-Cook brought down Will Atkinson inside the box and Barnett scored his second from the spot.
There was a late rally by Mowbray’s men with Joe Cole coming close late on but they could find no way back into the match and fell two back-to-back defeats for the first time this season.