In quotes: Bolton v Oxford United

The final word on Wanderers' defeat to the U's as rounds up manager, player and local press post-match reaction

Two late goals saw Wanderers fall to their first home league defeat of the season against Oxford United on Saturday.

Rounding up the manager, player and local press' post-match reaction alike, offers the final word on the match... 

How saw it...
Wanderers suffered their first league defeat at Macron Stadium in the 2016/17 Sky Bet League One campaign as they went down by two goals to nil against Oxford United on Saturday afternoon.

In a game of few clear cut chances, the deadlock was broken by the visitors ten minutes from time as substitute Wes Thomas turned the ball home following a United counter attack.

Despite the Whites’ best efforts however inside the closing stages, the U’s doubled their advantage on the stroke of the 90 through Chris Maguire on the rebound to take all three points back to the Kassam.

We weren’t good enough. We’re very disappointed with the performance today. We lacked quality in terms of our final ball. 

I lost track the amount of times set pieces and crosses went into the goalkeeper’s hands. We didn’t produce a final bit of quality and without the ball we were too open. 

I feel that we’ve gone a team who, at the start of the season, accepted we had problems and set ourselves up to be strong and hard to beat, to bringing in that extra quality in on deadline day and going away from what we were all about during that period. 

We need to get back to that because when you’re not producing in the final third, you’ve got to make sure that there is a discipline and resilience about us without the ball. Both sides of that were lacking today.

To come here and keep a clean sheet was a big thing. Every time we won the ball we looked a threat on the counter-attack.

The reality is if you do that you won’t lose and I do believe we have players who can win games. That was the message I got when we were 2-0 up.

I know we were going into injury time, but I wanted the clean sheet as well as the win.

The centre halves were very dominant and the full backs were steady Eddies, so I’m delighted for them.

To start writing the season off completely is very premature.

Perhaps we need to adjust the expectation levels which were swelled so significantly after four straight wins in August – but there is still no question the calibre of player within the squad should be capable of more.

Wanderers did play slightly within themselves as they made their best start for 80-odd years and at that stage we hoped it gave them scope to improve. 

It is not fair to consign an eight-game streak without victory to a lack of effort or professional pride but rather too many of the Whites’ line-up are playing within themselves, perhaps robbed of the spark which ignited their form at the start of the season.

Oxford, by contrast, seemed surprised at their hosts’ show of charity. Ready to buckle down for an afternoon of defending their own penalty area they survived a relatively simple first half to take the game to Wanderers in the second 45 minutes.

The lack of spark is not down to formations, more confidence, and the manager’s biggest problem right now is to restore whatever has slipped away in Wanderers’ make-up since August before the backlash becomes too great.

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