MICHAEL Appleton is happy to sacrifice style in favour of substance tomorrow if it means Oxford United finally get up and running in Sky Bet League Two.
They go into the home game against Dagenham & Redbridge rock bottom of the Football League, without a point to their name after four successive defeats.
United will be buoyed by the way they took Premier League side West Brom all the way to a penalty shoot-out on Tuesday night.
But within minutes of being knocked out in the Capital One Cup, Appleton was reiterating tomorrow’s clash was “ten times” more important.
Its value is shown by the fact the U’s head coach, who is wholeheartedly committed to a stylish game plan, would be willing for once to accept a cup thrashing and a below par display if they came away with victory.
“If we were to get a hiding the other night, but it meant we got the three points on Saturday I would’ve taken it all day, as much as it would’ve hurt me at the time,” he said.
“The performances have been very good, but again I’ll take an horrendous display on Saturday to get the three points.
“Regardless of how disappointed I’d be if we didn’t put in a performance, I would certainly sleep a lot better with three points on the board.”
It certainly does not mean United will set out any differently.
If anything, Appleton left the midweek display at the Hawthorns more convinced than ever that United’s players are able to make the system work.
He said: “It wasn’t just the fact we went within a kick of knocking them out, it’s how we did it as well.
“We almost had a bit of arrogance about us towards the end of the second half and pretty much all of extra time.
“You would’ve thought, dare I say it, that we were the Premier League side with the way we were moving the ball around.
“But it’s different now, it’s back to the bread and butter of the league.
“For whatever reason we haven’t got the points so far, so the most important thing is the three points.”
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Latest United news:
9:30am Wednesday 10th February 2016
MICHAEL Appleton has called on goalkeeper Sam Slocombe to bounce back after his two errors cost Oxford United victory over Mansfield Town.
9:45pm Tuesday 9th February 2016
SAM Slocombe made two costly errors as Oxford United were denied victory by a last-minute Mansfield Town goal at the Kassam Stadium tonight.
9:30am Tuesday 9th February 2016
A recharged Danny Hylton turned down a bid to move away from Oxford United so he could enjoy success with the club.
8:30am Tuesday 9th February 2016
Michael Appleton sees the visit of Mansfield Town tonight as an opportunity for Oxford United to further cement a place in the top three.
5:43pm Monday 8th February 2016
OXFORD United expect to sell more than 5,000 Wembley tickets on the first day of going on sale.