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THE VERDICT: Michael Appleton on Southend

PUBLISHED

09:55 15th February 2017

U's turn to Boro in the Cup as five game winning run ends

Oxford United’s five game winning run ended with a 2-0 home defeat against Southend last night.

“The run had to end somewhere but it doesn’t stop us feeling frustrated with the way the game panned out” Michael Appleton told Yellow Player HD. “ I thought the first half performance was very good and we played some decent stuff in the middle third of the field without really hurting them.  I just felt that when we got into the final third of the pitch our final ball wasn’t quite as good as it could have been.

“I can’t remember us conceding two goals from free headers inside our box for a very long time and that is something we will have to address, certainly coming up against a top side like Middlesbrough on Saturday: we can’t allow that to happen.

“We have played worse and won games this year. Southend had two opportunities, one from a corner, one from a cross. We said at half time that our concentration levels were going to be key. We knew Southend we weren’t going to have that many opportunities: they did turn us in the second half so we were having to play in our half rather than theirs, but we will learn from that I’m sure.”

United now go into FA Cup action at Middlesbrough on Saturday, which means other teams around them in the table get the opportunity to gain ground.

“That’s why it was so important to try and get three points” Michael admitted. “We will have to see how that pans out. It will be a fantastic occasion at Middlesbrough and then we will go to Charlton on Tuesday and let’s see where we are and hope we aren’t doing too much chasing.”

See the full interview plus extended highlights in Yellow Player HD

Read the match report HERE

Click through the images above for a full gallery of the night’s action

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