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Oxford United boss offers simple answer to home questions
THE most straightforward solution to a problem is also often the best one, which is why Oxford United boss Chris Wilder believes old-fashioned graft is the route to turning around results at the Kassam Stadium.
The U’s boss rightly says statistics can be used to prove almost anything.
But when the numbers are as stark as the side’s contrasting home and away records, they are impossible to ignore.
Superb on the road, they have fallen short at home – winning just once and losing their last three ahead of Northampton’s visit tomorrow.
However, the most recent, a 2-1 loss to Portsmouth in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy on Tuesday night, offered encouragement.
Wilder was heartened by the energy and intensity shown by the much-changed line-up in the first half, who responded to the straightforward demands of the staff.
“A lot is talked about systems, but the most important thing is you work harder than the opposition and when you have the ball you are productive and progressive,” he said “In the last two home games in the league we certainly feel we should’ve worked a touch harder, been a bit more competitive and been better with the ball.
“That’s what I asked them to do on Tuesday night and they did it.
“We need to follow that up with a performance and hopefully a win.”
Wilder is well aware until an upturn in form at home is found, he will continue to be asked questions about the subject and opposition managers will seek to exploit it.
But he insists it is not affecting the players.
He said: “Overall it’s not a burden and doesn’t hang around our necks, but we’d obviously like to win home games. I don’t want it to continue any longer than Saturday.”
One feature of Tuesday’s game was a dramatic change in atmosphere compared to Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to Southend.
Although only a meagre 3,697 were attracted by the prospect of a JPT second-round tie, those who did attend responded enthusiastically to a more dynamic home display.
Wilder said: “There is certainly not a negative feeling around our place and I thought our support was excellent on Tuesday.
“But we have to make sure that we give the support something to cheer about and get behind us.
“We have to set the ball rolling on that front. If people see us being positive and passing the ball well they will encourage and give us their full support.”