Oxford United boss: We know we must improve

Chris Wilder

Chris Wilder

First published in Sport Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Sports Reporter covering Oxford United. Follow us on twitter: @oxfordmailoufc. Call me on 01865 425458

A COMBINATION of factors left Oxford United manager Chris Wilder feeling like he was “spinning plates” in the critical final games of the season.

United’s play-off hopes went up in smoke during the final seven games of the campaign, when only basement side Macclesfield Town picked up fewer points.

Although injuries were a problem for most of the season, for a long time the squad were able to cope and keep getting results.

But it took its toll and led to a difficult end to the campaign, when Wilder was unable to put on the training sessions he wanted.

He said: “There were a lot of defining moments in the season, but by the end it felt like we were really spinning plates.

“We were curtailing training and not doing it at the same intensity we had been because there were times at the back end of the season when we were waiting until Fridays to see who was available and rolling people out.

“Looking through the season I think we played some decent football.

“We fell agonisingly short, which disappoints and frustrates me because we put ourselves into a good position even though I do believe a lot of things went against us this season.

“It’s a disappointing finish, there’s no getting away from that.”

For Wilder the farcical climax to the season was summed up by the last game at Port Vale.

The U’s had to win to stand any chance of reaching the play-offs, but injuries to both the senior first-team goalkeepers, Ryan Clarke and Wayne Brown, saw Damian Martinez recr-uited at short notice from Arsenal.

Wilder said: “I’m not saying we were outstanding, but we were doing the pressing and it was us who had the chances in the first half.

“Then one long ball catches us out, there’s a mix-up between the goalkeeper and Jake (Wright).

“Does that happen if Clarkey’s in goal? Does that happen if Browny’s in goal? Does that happen if Jake doesn’t spend the Thursday night up with his kid being born?

“It’s just a ridiculous season, I’ve never had it before as a manager or a player.

“People always say the buck stops with the manager, which it does – I always look at myself in a critical way on everything.

“There are always times you could have made better decisions, but ultimately we’ve come up short from a culmination of lots of factors.

“Am I in the equation? Of course I am.”

In addition to the number of injuries, Wilder points to a host of other reasons why the club fell short.

Some, such as refereeing decisions or simple bad luck, were out of the squad’s control, but others, perhaps most importantly the inability to convert chances into goals, need to be improved in-house.

The fitness and conditioning side has been highlighted elsewhere and although the United boss welcomes the potential of investment, he points to the club’s record in previous seasons.

“I’m not a sports scientist, but in three of the four years I’ve been here we’ve had no injuries,” he said.

“We can always say we could be fitter and stronger, but do we go and spend £70,000 on a fitness conditioner?

“You’re talking about the top teams in the country spending that, we’re in a learning curve in terms of the progression.

“You look through the majority of the injuries, which you’ll always pick up, but we’ve never been smashed like this in all my time here.

“Can we improve and be fitter? That’s the challenge we all have.”

Comments (9)

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10:46am Mon 14 May 12

thame-yellow says...

I am behind you cw all the the way but stop looking at everything now and saying we were hard done by . Re group and go again ,but do get yourself a forward coach .#coyy
I am behind you cw all the the way but stop looking at everything now and saying we were hard done by . Re group and go again ,but do get yourself a forward coach .#coyy thame-yellow
  • Score: 0

11:31am Mon 14 May 12

AylesburyOx says...

“We were curtailing training and not doing it at the same intensity we had been because there were times at the back end of the season when we were waiting until Fridays to see who was available and rolling people out.

“Looking through the season I think we played some decent football.

These two comments leave me very worried.
Firstly - no, you don't curtail training before a 'must win' game. You push harder and get everyone in a determined frame of mind. Start letting people off and allowing training standards to slip just says to the players 'We're not up for this, so why should you be'. Injuries or not you've got to keep the squad together and bonded, especially with the revolving door of new faces every week.

And as I've said before, I expect a hell of a lot better than 'decent'. If decent is the best you expect from your players go and manage Macclesfield or Hereford. Here at Oxford United the minimum we expect is 100%. If you or any of the players can't deliver to that standard then you'd better start updating your CVs.
“We were curtailing training and not doing it at the same intensity we had been because there were times at the back end of the season when we were waiting until Fridays to see who was available and rolling people out. “Looking through the season I think we played some decent football. These two comments leave me very worried. Firstly - no, you don't curtail training before a 'must win' game. You push harder and get everyone in a determined frame of mind. Start letting people off and allowing training standards to slip just says to the players 'We're not up for this, so why should you be'. Injuries or not you've got to keep the squad together and bonded, especially with the revolving door of new faces every week. And as I've said before, I expect a hell of a lot better than 'decent'. If decent is the best you expect from your players go and manage Macclesfield or Hereford. Here at Oxford United the minimum we expect is 100%. If you or any of the players can't deliver to that standard then you'd better start updating your CVs. AylesburyOx
  • Score: 0

12:49pm Mon 14 May 12

northampton yellow says...

well here we go again cw passes the buck once again the word "INJURIES" is getting very boring mr wilder is that the only word you know and you just got another problem now is trying to get players 2 sign new contracts as "ASA HALL" as just said no to your offer as mite the others they have proberly seen the light and with you at the helm can see we are going no where.
well here we go again cw passes the buck once again the word "INJURIES" is getting very boring mr wilder is that the only word you know and you just got another problem now is trying to get players 2 sign new contracts as "ASA HALL" as just said no to your offer as mite the others they have proberly seen the light and with you at the helm can see we are going no where. northampton yellow
  • Score: 0

2:34pm Mon 14 May 12

adlibber says...

Wilder deluding himself I think Northampton yellow makes a great point if the players wilder wants to keep decline it can't be purely about money. CW can't keep blaming everything else and feeling hard done by when he has to take responsibility for our failure. I seriously doubt he'll take us forward because i don't think he's mature or smart enough to change.
Wilder deluding himself I think Northampton yellow makes a great point if the players wilder wants to keep decline it can't be purely about money. CW can't keep blaming everything else and feeling hard done by when he has to take responsibility for our failure. I seriously doubt he'll take us forward because i don't think he's mature or smart enough to change. adlibber
  • Score: 0

3:50pm Mon 14 May 12

yellowhoods says...

Speaking of change, is the fence behind the goal getting stained again????or was that next years budget. We should have never got promoted!!!!!
Speaking of change, is the fence behind the goal getting stained again????or was that next years budget. We should have never got promoted!!!!! yellowhoods
  • Score: 0

6:25pm Mon 14 May 12

DuberryandBeanofan says...

People love to criticise but I do believe that when injuries are taken in to account we had a lot of them, blimming people get behind the club, if you don't like what you hear, don't support United, support money bags like Man City or Arsenal. I am fed up of hearing and seeing negative comments. You try to work hard even when you can't pick your best 11!!! If you knew anything about football you should go to Kelvin Thomas and ask for an application form to become boss then you would know HOW hard things are. Shut up! Put up! We don't need whingers!!
People love to criticise but I do believe that when injuries are taken in to account we had a lot of them, blimming people get behind the club, if you don't like what you hear, don't support United, support money bags like Man City or Arsenal. I am fed up of hearing and seeing negative comments. You try to work hard even when you can't pick your best 11!!! If you knew anything about football you should go to Kelvin Thomas and ask for an application form to become boss then you would know HOW hard things are. Shut up! Put up! We don't need whingers!! DuberryandBeanofan
  • Score: 0

7:27pm Mon 14 May 12

AylesburyOx says...

DuberryandBeanofan wrote:
People love to criticise but I do believe that when injuries are taken in to account we had a lot of them, blimming people get behind the club, if you don't like what you hear, don't support United, support money bags like Man City or Arsenal. I am fed up of hearing and seeing negative comments. You try to work hard even when you can't pick your best 11!!! If you knew anything about football you should go to Kelvin Thomas and ask for an application form to become boss then you would know HOW hard things are. Shut up! Put up! We don't need whingers!!
Because out of the 30+ games I saw this season, less than 5 we were excellent in, most we were average and at least 10 we were awful.
Injuries or not I saw no change in the way the team were set up, the tactics altered or a desire to go out and get a result.

If you're happy with that then good for you. But I pay my money, my money pays for staff and time and again the staff have under performed.
[quote][p][bold]DuberryandBeanofan[/bold] wrote: People love to criticise but I do believe that when injuries are taken in to account we had a lot of them, blimming people get behind the club, if you don't like what you hear, don't support United, support money bags like Man City or Arsenal. I am fed up of hearing and seeing negative comments. You try to work hard even when you can't pick your best 11!!! If you knew anything about football you should go to Kelvin Thomas and ask for an application form to become boss then you would know HOW hard things are. Shut up! Put up! We don't need whingers!![/p][/quote]Because out of the 30+ games I saw this season, less than 5 we were excellent in, most we were average and at least 10 we were awful. Injuries or not I saw no change in the way the team were set up, the tactics altered or a desire to go out and get a result. If you're happy with that then good for you. But I pay my money, my money pays for staff and time and again the staff have under performed. AylesburyOx
  • Score: 0

8:12pm Mon 14 May 12

BigAlBiker says...

We won't improve if London Welsh rugby club play there games at our place like they hope, the last thing we needis a cut up pitch.
We won't improve if London Welsh rugby club play there games at our place like they hope, the last thing we needis a cut up pitch. BigAlBiker
  • Score: 0

8:19pm Mon 14 May 12

northampton yellow says...

BigAlBiker wrote:
We won't improve if London Welsh rugby club play there games at our place like they hope, the last thing we needis a cut up pitch.
yeah i just read that on bbc sport at least if things dont go cw way this season then can blame things on a bumpy pitch instead of the boring word of "INJURIES".
[quote][p][bold]BigAlBiker[/bold] wrote: We won't improve if London Welsh rugby club play there games at our place like they hope, the last thing we needis a cut up pitch.[/p][/quote]yeah i just read that on bbc sport at least if things dont go cw way this season then can blame things on a bumpy pitch instead of the boring word of "INJURIES". northampton yellow
  • Score: 0

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