PEP Clotet praised the way Oxford United’s players had taken on board new ideas as his first game in charge finished in a goalless draw against Middlesbrough.

Hundreds of U’s fans were on hand to welcome the new manager for the friendly in Albufeira, Portugal last night.

Despite taking on a side who were playing in the Premier League last season and had the luxury of changing their entire team at half-time, the Sky Bet League One outfit at least held their own.

And with a touch more cutting edge in the final third, they could easily have come out on top at the Ferreiras Stadium.

Clotet had made it clear the result was not the priority, and he was encouraged to see elements from training sessions earlier this week taken on to the pitch.

He said: “Mainly I put it down to the great attitude of the players.

“They are able to have fantastic focus in the training sessions and bring it into the game, realising it can help us when a certain situation comes up.

“At the same time there is a long way to go and we have to improve a lot, we did some mistakes because we don’t have full fitness.

“There are more things to work on, obviously.”

The other major boost for Clotet came afterwards, when he and the players mingled with the supporters who had made the journey.

He said: “I’m very happy because I feel their warmth from the beginning.

“They really supported their team so far from home in this heat.

“I understand it’s a holiday, but you can always go somewhere else. Instead they come and do it for your team.

“This is fantastic and not easy to find.”