11:15am Monday 31st December 2012
By Chris Phillips
SOUTHEND United skipper Chris Barker remained upbeat despite Blues’ 14-match unbeaten run coming to an end with a 2-0 defeat at Burton Albion on Saturday.
The experienced defender admitted his side were well below their best in a disappointing display at the Pirrelli Stadium.
But Barker was also keen to stress the progress made by Southend in the last few months.
“We’ve come a long way in a short space of time and, although it’s disappointing to have played badly and lost, that’s one defeat in 15 games for us,” said the 32-year-old left-back.
“If we can keep that up for the rest of the season then we’re going to get promotion and that’s what we all want.
“It just wasn’t our day against Burton and we’re frustrated to have given away a couple of bad goals.”
The Brewers took the lead when Calvin Zola escaped the attentions of Ryan Cresswell to tap home from close range.
And the home side doubled their lead in the 36th minute when a long-range shot from Lee Bell hit Barker before nestling in the back of the net.
“I think that shot was heading for the corner flag before it hit me and that summed the match up for us really,” said Barker.
“We switched off for the first goal too, but we kept trying to get back in to the game.
“Unfortunately it didn’t happen and it was disappointing because I thought our fans who travelled up were fantastic.
“December is an expensive time of year, but they still travelled to the match in their hundreds and we’re all very grateful for that.
“But I hope they realise we haven’t suddenly became a bad team or bad players just because of one bad result, and now we want to get on another good run.”
Blues remain fourth in the table, despite the defeat.
And Barker is now demanding an immediate return to winning ways when Southend host second-placed Gillingham at Roots Hall tomorrow.
“We will be the chasing team and will really go for it because we want to catch them,” said Barker.
“Gillingham are a very good side and we know it will be a tough game, but it’s the perfect opportunity to bounce back and show we’re still a good team too.”
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