Oxford United Boss Remaining ‘Realistic’ Following Cup Humiliation

Oxford United lost their second game of the season last night, exiting the EFL Cup to Championship outfit Bristol City after a hefty 5-1 smacking.

Former Luton Town attacker Harry Cornick opened the scoring for the hosts at Ashton Gate inside the opening quarter of an hour before Billy Bodin equalised for Liam Manning’s side half an hour into the match.

Unfortunately, the leveller would not last very long and by the 62nd minute, Oxford United were 5-1 down to Nigel Pearson’s men thanks to goals from Nakhi Wells, Kai Naismith and a brace from Jason Knight.

It was a disappointing collapse from the U’s and is now the second consecutive defeat of the campaign, having lost 2-0 to Cambridge United on the opening day of the season.

A lot of work will be needed on the training ground to get back on track before Carlisle United travel to the Kassam Stadium this weekend.

Manning remaining realistic

Speaking after the game to BBC Radio Oxford, head coach Manning remained positive despite suffering a heavy defeat, admitting that great results won’t come instantly [quotes via the BBC]:

“Winning doesn’t happen overnight. This is a new group of players that is being asked to do new things and that takes time.

“We went into half-time 2-1 down but we hadn’t given them many chances but we had missed three or four ourselves at the other end.

“There were outbreaks of real quality but what you can’t do is give away terrible goals at crucial times.

Manning also claims to be staying realistic about how good his team can be, not panicking despite the rocky start to the campaign:

“I’m quite realistic.

“I think you’ll find when our players come out the other side of it they will be a hard team to beat and be capable of winning games in a way that I know they can.

“We had such a good pre-season and you see some of that quality coming out.

“The biggest thing is how do we respond to this loss and I expect to see a reaction from a few at the weekend – we have to take the positives.”

Writer’s View

During the 2021/22 season, Manning built something special at MK Dons. The Dons were playing some of the best football, not just in League One, but in English football.

Building to that takes time, though, and so there may be a rough period at the start of the season where results aren’t perfect but, given time, the young head coach will impose his philosophy, and performances and points will follow.

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