JON De Souza says he is targeting improvement in all areas at Colchester United after becoming their first-ever Director of Performance.

The former Brentford under-23 boss will head a newly-created department which will focus on enhancing the performance levels of U's teams, players and staff, at the League Two club.

De Souza has taken up the new position after switching from his role as Colchester’s academy manager, which he undertook for three years.

And as the U’s prepare for another season in the fourth tier, he says he will be working hard to see ‘small differences’ being made to be reflected on the pitch.

He told the Gazette: “I’m excited to take up the role - it’s a new challenge and a broader remit.

“It’s something that I feel strongly about and it’s about improving performance across staff, players, teams and departments.

“It covers a lot of areas like coaching, social science, medical, recruitment and analysis.

“I’m hoping to bring my broad experience in the game to the role.

“The clue is in the title really – it’s about looking at everything that has an effect on the football pitch and finding unique ways of improving departments.

“We’re trying to create one football club and the only thing that’s different between the first team and the under nines is the size of the shirt.

“The chairman spoke publicly a few months ago about where our budget is, in League Two.

“Unless you have unlimited funds, the only way to improve is to see the small differences being made and that’s what we’re trying to do.

“The more information we can get and then deliver to the players and staff, the more chance we have of achieving success.”

De Souza has been at Colchester since 2016, when he took over as their Academy Manager.

Prior to that, he spent 11 years at Luton as a player and then a coach, taking over as their under-18 and reserve-team manager at Kenilworth Road.

De Souza left Luton to join Brentford, spending five years as the Bees’ under-23 coach and working closely with first-team manager Uwe Rosler.

He also had a spell as an FA Tutor for Level One and Two coaching courses and is also a UEFA A Licence holder.

However, De Souza still wants to add to his coaching qualifications and will head to the FA’s headquarters at St George’s Park later this month to complete his UEFA Pro-Licence qualification.

“My passion is football and coaching and I still want to be involved in that,” added De Souza, who says there is potential for more staff to be added to the U’s Performance Department.

“I still see myself as a youth developer and I always will.

“Most of my 15 years in football have been in academy football and to step away from that is a bit strange but it’s a good challenge for me.”