THERE were a lot of first day nerves about at Southend on Saturday and a lot of first-day anticipation.

But there were a number of positive things which came out of it in the second half.

We got closer to people and passed the ball a lot better.

But more than anything else we competed, which we did not do in the first half.

We just needed to show a bit more quality and cutting edge – if we had done that then we might have got something out of the game.

In general, our fitness was good which is always a bonus after pre-season; we contained them in the second half and we were on top for good periods of the game.

It was a bit of an eye-opener when we saw the size of Southend’s squad in the match programme but we know where we are at. There is not going to be any significant squad movement for all the reasons we know and our hands are tied in that respect.

We want to strengthen and we want to improve the squad but we cannot do that at the moment as we have a few that we need to get out first.

It was a tough first game.

Southend have a 29 playersquad and when you look at their wage bill in comparison with ours, it is difficult to compete.

Last season, they finished just outside the play-offs and have aspirations of getting there this time but we showed in the second half that we can match that standard.

We need to do that week in and week out, minute in and minute out of every game but with a little bit more cutting edge.

With such a long trip, we didn’t really need a break down on the way but we were at a service station when it happened and everyone did everything they could to get us going again.

There were no complaints; it’s just something that happens and you have to get on with it.

It was not part of the reason why we failed to perform in the first half. I think that was just more a case of anticipation among a young squad and a couple who just froze in the first half.

Southend were at home with the advantage that brings; they had 5,000 people cheering them on and we knew they would come out of the blocks at us.

We now have a couple of home games, against Morecambe and Macclesfield, who are predicted to be at the lower of the table. That is an opportunity for us.

If we want to make sure that we are in and around the safe area, those are opportunities that we have to take.

We have to get results against teams like that at home; that is not putting pressure on ourselves, we want to win every game – to do that we have to show endeavour and commitment and work hard.

On Sunday, I went to the Community Shield which was a great experience.

Manchester United showed that there is no real difference in philosophy, even at that level. They just outworked Manchester City.

They were a great unit on and off the ball; they know their shape and formation and a player like Wayne Rooney, who is on a huge amount of money, earns it because he is such an influential player in the game.

You cannot knock his commitment to the cause and our players should look at him and what he does and try to learn something.