Less than four weeks ago, Phil Brown was being touted as a contender to become England’s next assistant manager.
But, with his team languishing at the foot of the League One table after suffering back to back defeats, the 57-year-old has admitted that remaining with Southend must now take precedence over securing a position at St George’s Park.
“We’re not running away from anything, we’re here to win games of football and when that doesn’t happen the pressure gets cranked up,” Brown, speaking ahead of tomorrow’s visit to Sheffield United, said. “If anyone wants to put the pressure on me I’ll accept it and if anyone wants to blame anyone, blame me. I’m the manager of the club and our naivety is gifting our opposition goals and points at the moment. But we’re only two games into the league season and one win would change everything so we can definitely still have a good season.”
Chris Wilder will sympathise with his opposite number’s predicament after complaining about the manner of Rochdale’s opener during Saturday’s draw at Bramall Lane. But, with Brown admitting that recent results have gnawed away at Southend’s confidence, Wilder will instruct his players to go for the opposition’s throat.
“The lads can’t do any more in terms of their work-rate but the psychology of losing another game is going to be very damning,” Brown continued. “I’ve been asked about the end to last season but there was a reason for that after three years together. This is a new group now and you can see they’re suffering. “They’re on the back-foot and there’s no real belief or confidence but we need to see a reaction at Sheffield United.”
Although Wilder has been active in the transfer market since taking charge earlier this summer, Brown has found breakthroughs hard to come by. The former Bolton Wanderers defender, who eventually lost out to Sammy Lee in the race to assist Sam Allardyce, held talks with Dominic Ball before the Tottenham Hotspur full-back joined Rotherham United instead.
“We want to improve but I haven’t got my full squad in place at the moment and that’s something we need to sort out,” Brown said. “However, it’s not teams beating us at the moment, we’re beating ourselves.”