Oxford United head for Blackpool on Saturday looking to continue their unbeaten start to the season. The U’s have had an astonishing 2019, kick started in many ways by a first away win last season at Bloomfield Road in February.
“We didn’t speak about the first away win too much” Karl Robinson told iFollow today “ and it didn’t become a problem at all, but externally people obviously were looking at it and it did add pressure at times. But we knew that if we kept playing well and kept believing in each other then we would win games, and that all the time we were creating a culture that we believed in.”
That has been paying off for the U’s this season, as has their fitness and capacity for sheer hard work:
“Our work rate has been fantastic” Karl said. “Part of our recruitment policy is that players have high energy and can cover plenty of ground. That’s a necessity in the modern day game and certainly a belief that we have here.
“It’s one of our ways of playing and the players have worked extremely hard over the first three games. Not just the midfielders but everyone. Tariqe Fosu for example has done a lot of tracking back. There is still more to come from him and we have to make sure we protect him as well, but the wide players have to buy into the team way of playing, not just give you flair. They have to be part of the defence and part of the team when we attack.”
One of those wide players will be out for some time, with youngster Malachi Napa suffering a broken leg in midweek that has taken the gloss off United’s storming first three games:
“We were all in the hospital on Tuesday night into the early hours of Wednesday” Karl said. “We were a bit subdued in training on Wednesday morning - a lot of the players and the staff had been to see him, and I think that shows what he means to us. But the most important thing is the player. He has had an operation which we hope went well and we will be there for him and he remains part of our club and part of our friendship group. The messages from the fans will really help him too and we will make sure we look after him and he comes back stronger than ever.”
See the full interview in iFollow right now.