There were plenty of positives from the weekend as Oxford United tested themselves against Championship opposition.
Friday night saw the impressive U’s beat Swansea City at the Kassam Stadium while Saturday saw a younger side lose at Bristol City despite a fine Gatlin O’Donkor goal.
“I was really pleased with the first half in particular against Swansea” Liam Manning told iFollow. ”I thought we had control in the game, the way we wanted to, and dominated possession. The press was good, the block was good and you could see the work we have done on the phases in the game. If we had been a bit more clinical and converted a few more chances then that would have been great.
“In the second half we conceded a bit more possession but still didn’t give up many chances. We controlled play without the ball which will be important this season. So I was really pleased with the players and how we went about our business. There were a lot of positives to take from it
“We are definitely heading in the right direction. We have done a lot of tactical work in pre-season and last week was about getting that into the games. We still have a bit to do, especially at the top end of the pitch. We haven’t done a huge amount of work on that yet but we are going to increase that in the next two weeks
“The game against Bristol City was just as good for me in terms of learning about the players. We knew it would be a challenge and we were quite honest and fair with the lads; some were on the bench the night before and came on and played against Swansea and were then involved next day, which is not easy so their match preparation would be completely different. But what pleased me was that nobody offered excuses and the willingness to run and compete was non-negotiable.
"I thought we were very good in the first 30 minutes and caused them problems. We responded really well after going a goal behind but then as you might expect it was a little disjointed at times because the relationships aren’t quite there with the changes we made.
“In both games we have given the Academy players a chance and it was a good week where we worked closely with some of the Academy lads and provided them with an opportunity. At Bristol Zaide Took-Oxley came on and did really well and Kasway Burton did well up front too when he got on.
“So it was a positive week for both the Men’s First Team and the Academy and now we will build on that and have another week of hard work before we play QPR at home on Saturday.”
See the whole interview in iFollow.
There’s just one more chance to see the U’s in pre-season when they welcome QPR to the Kassam Stadium on Saturday. Prices are reduced and Season Ticket holders can see the game for half price. CLICK HERE to book your place.