STEVE Rhodes has stressed the need for Worcestershire to “get straight back on track” after a nine-wicket defeat to Sussex in the Specsavers County Championship at New Road.

Worcestershire are still second in Division Two with four matches to play and Gloucestershire next up at home in the competition at the end of August.

But director of cricket Rhodes is looking to cut out some of the “sloppy cricket” shown against Sussex and repeat the fight evident in previous Championship matches this season.

He said: “There were times out there when we were a bit soft and sloppy in our cricket and we probably didn’t show the best fight we previously have shown in the Championship so far this season.

“While we are not taking anything away from opposition who bowled and batted really well we do want to have an improved performance in our Championship cricket next game which is against Gloucestershire.

“We have done it before at the start of the season. We had some fantastic games and that’s the plan — to get straight back on track.

“To do that we need to cut out some of the sloppy cricket we played. We all know in four-day cricket you’ve got to get the upper hand early and keep your foot down on the throat, don’t let the opposition back in and don’t let momentum switch.

“Obviously we missed some chances, got some wickets with no balls, things that hurt your team who end up snookered in many ways because the opposition have got a few too many and then you don’t bat as well as you can and suddenly you are following on.

“It's disappointing but this team have shown a lot more fight in the past than we have done over these last four days so there is no reason why we can’t get back on track and show that same fight we showed earlier in the season.”

The County’s stand-out performer was Ed Barnard with scores of 65 not out and 46 plus four wickets in the game.

Rhodes added: “Ed was outstanding. He put his hand up about those no balls when he bowled (Jofra) Archer which would have made a bit of a difference but you can’t knock the way he has bowled in the game.

“His bowling was excellent and one of his best efforts so far this season in red-ball cricket. You also put his scores batting together and the way he played and nursed the tail.”

Worcestershire now return to a block of NatWest T20 Blast matches, starting with Friday’s North Group game at Durham Jets (6.30pm).