Sol Campbell: Southend United manager calls on players to 'dig deep'

Sol Campbell
Sol Campbell led Macclesfield to League Two safety last term after losing just two of their final 10 games

New Southend United boss Sol Campbell has said his players must "dig deep" to move clear of relegation trouble.

The 45-year-old ex-England defender was appointed on Tuesday before watching Southend lose 7-1 to Doncaster Rovers.

Former Macclesfield manager Campbell's first game in charge of his 22nd-placed side will be at home to Ipswich Town - second in League One - on Saturday.

"There is a lot left in the guys' tank. I don't think anyone is playing at their capacity yet," he told BBC Essex.

"We shouldn't be down here but we are. I'm here to turn that around and get the club where it should be, higher up the league.

"They are better than what they are now. Every time we go out on the pitch we've got to compete and go toe-to-toe with whoever we're playing against."

We have to overachieve now - Campbell

The Shrimpers have conceded more goals than any other League One side this term, having let in 40 in their first 14 games - 12 more than the league's next leakiest backline.

"I've got to look at slowing down the goals-against tally," added Campbell, who steered Macclesfield away from relegation trouble in League Two last term.

"We've got to stop the leakage but we've also got to score goals. We've got a deficit and we've got to overachieve now."

Campbell, who has signed a contract until the end of the 2021-22 campaign, said the job was a "step up" from his first managerial role in the fourth tier with the Silkmen.

But he takes charge on the back of Southend's heaviest ever home defeat, with the club eight points adrift of safety, and knows he faces "a challenge".

Taking the reins after a hammering

Campbell was at Roots Hall to see his new side thrashed by Doncaster - but he is not the only manager to take charge of their new team off the back of a heavy defeat.

  • Michael Appleton was appointed Lincoln City manager on 20 September but Jamie McCombe remained in temporary charge for the visit of Oxford United in League One the following day. Appleton watched from the stands as the Imps were thumped 6-0. They have won one of their first five league games under Appleton.
  • It was a similar situation in September 2017 for Steve Cotterill, who saw Birmingham City - under the caretaker management of Lee Carsley - lose 6-1 at Hull City on the day after his appointment. Cotterill made a winning start to his reign against Cardiff, but was sacked five months later.
  • And that was not a unique experience for Blues. Gary Rowett took charge at St Andrew's in October 2014 two days after the club's biggest ever home defeat - an 8-0 hammering by Bournemouth under caretaker boss Malcolm Crosby. Rowett's tenure began with a clean sheet in a goalless draw at Wolves the following weekend, and he enjoyed relative success before his surprise exit in December 2016.