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VERDICT Oxford 0 Blackburn 3

1 February 2016

Michael reflects on United's cup exit

Oxford United may have bowed out of the FA Cup on Saturday but Head Coach Michael Appleton was already turning his attention to Tuesday night’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy second leg against Millwall when he spoke to Yellow Player HD after the game

“It just wasn’t to be today” he said. “These things happen and we have another important game on Tuesday now so we have to refocus very quickly.”

United were far from disgraced, but had been heavily fancied to cause another cup upset on Saturday.

“The form that we’ve shown and the performances we’ve put in, you could kind of understand it” Michael admitted “but from Blackburn’s point of view they were relishing it because it was a break from their league position. It was a free game for us, as all the cup games have been, because our main concern has always been to try to win promotion.”

As always, there were lessons to take away from the 3-0 defeat.

“The biggest thing to learn is that you have to earn the right to play” he said. “I thought in the first half we almost looked like a five-a-side team and were passing it too short. Sometimes you have to mix it up and it doesn’t matter who you play in a cup competition, that first 20 minutes is crucial. We just gave Blackburn a little bit of impetus and they got on the front foot. We had opportunities to put the ball into space down the sides of them but we turned them down and played a little bit shorter.

“The good thing about this group is that we know they will learn from that. They are brilliant at moving on really quickly, learning from their mistakes and putting it right. I think we have had four defeats this season and every time we have gone on and won the next one…”

See the full interview, plus exclusives with Johnny Mullins and a clearly emotional George Baldock, all in Yellow Player HD now.

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