MICHAEL Appleton is getting irritated with praise from opposition managers after Oxford United failed to convert another decent display, writes DAVID PRITCHARD.
Visitors Portsmouth were on the ropes in the first half, but United could not land a telling blow and lost 1-0 to Craig Westcarr’s scruffy 80th-minute effort.
It left United bottom of the Sky Bet League Two table, without a point from their first four games.
In at least three of the fixtures, Appleton’s men have been the better side, but while there are positive signs for the head coach, the lack of reward is frustrating.
He said: “I’m fed up of managers and coaches telling me they’ve got out of jail and that we should’ve won the game.
“That’s a little bit annoying, but you can only just keep going and keep doing the right things.
“I wanted to change the DNA and the culture of the club when I came in.
“The players said to me as difficult as it is losing a game of football, it feels ten times better than it did at the end of last season, because they’re doing it the right way.
“They’re playing to the strengths of the people that are in the building.
“They’re enjoying their football, regardless of what’s happening at the minute and know at any minute it’s going to turn.”
Pompey manager Andy Awford, a former U’s coach, acknowledged the visitors had been second best before the break, but praised their resolve.
He said: “We didn’t play as well as we can in the first half – the standard wasn’t quite what we set ourselves in recent games.
“So to dig in, get the result and come away with three hard-earned points is excellent.”
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