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Clarke wants Oxford United players to stay upbeat
RYAN Clarke urged Oxford United to shrug off any criticism from the stands and stay upbeat after a 2-0 defeat to Southend United.
The goalkeeper had little chance with either of the visitors’ goals in the opening 30 minutes, which sealed back-to-back home defeats for the U’s.
Although a sparkling away record has kept them flying high in the table, the home fans have not seen a victory since the first home game of the season and there was some discontent at the final whistle from a minority of supporters.
Clarke admitted the side were well aware they had fallen short, but felt it was important to blank out any negativity.
He said: “Sometimes there are going to be a few moans and groans, but that is part and parcel of it.
“We have got to rise above that, it’s what comes with football and we just have to concentrate on ourselves and not get involved in all that. I think we’re capable of doing that this year.”
He added: “We are going to get days like this, we just don’t want it to happen too much at home really. “We have just got to stay positive as a group. “We haven’t played well, we all know that.
“We know we can do a lot better, so we just roll our sleeves up and get on with it.”
Although the hosts were below par, Clarke stood out.
The 31-year-old made a series of smart saves, particularly in the second half as the U’s chased the game, which left space at the back for Southend to exploit.
It was no real consolation for the goalkeeper, who praised his opposite number, Daniel Bentley, for a fine display at the other end to keep the hosts out.
He said: “There were a couple of one-on-ones, but that’s going to happen when we are going to try and nick a goal to get back in the game it leaves us a little bit open.
“That’s what I’m there to do, it was nice to make a couple of saves but it doesn’t count for anything at the end of the day.”
“Their keeper had a good game. He had a busy afternoon and has a good clean sheet against us and to be fair as a team they defended really well with all the balls we put in the box.”
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