Report this comment
  • "I like the way he talks, with purpose, confidence and no bull. Unlike the last idiot"
  • This field is mandatory
  • This field is mandatory
  • Please note we will not accept reports with HTML tags or URLs in them.


  • Enter the above word in the box below

Oxford United must play with no fear, says new boss

Michael Appleton

Michael Appleton

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

MICHAEL Appleton used his first meeting with Oxford United’s players to call for them to stick to their strengths and play without fear.

The new head coach is well aware time is of the essence after starting work on Monday, just over a month before the start of the Sky Bet League Two season.

He is keen to bring in new players quickly, but also wants to get to know those already at the club.

Appleton spoke briefly to the squad to lay out his plans, and the former Portsmouth and Blackburn boss intends to lead by example.

He said: “I told them there’s going to be no Robert de Niro speeches. You’ll know what my qualities are and you’ll see what I’m about over the next days, weeks and months with the professionalism I bring to the party.

“I expect them over a period of time to come and introduce themselves to me and tell me about themselves.

“That’s how I work. I always have an open door and I’m quite an easy guy to get on with as long as you do your job properly.

“I just want the players to express themselves.

“Whatever qualities they bring to the team – do it without fear.

“Whether you’re someone who defends well, a good passer or like to attack people, stick to your strengths and relax.”

Dave Kitson is the only U’s player who has worked with Appleton before, when the pair were at Fratton Park during the 2011-12 season.

The rest will have to learn how the new boss wants to play, their first outing coming with the start of the pre-season games at Farnborough this Saturday.

Appleton believes his sides have a track record of attractive football but also acknowledged there was a need to be pragmatic.

He said: “Most people are going to say ‘I want an open brand of football’.

“They use all the right words and to be fair, with 90 per cent of them, that is what they want.

“With my background I think the majority of sides I’ve been with have always played good football.

“But on the other hand, you have to find a way to win.

“There will be occasions between November and January where the weather isn’t fantastic and there will be situations where we need to find a way to win when we’ll have our backs to the wall.

“Hopefully we have enough personalities and strength of character to do that.”

Latest Sport news

Oxford United fans' chat

Oxford Mail:

11:59am Monday 27th April 2015

Have your say on the main talking points at Oxford United in our 60-minute interactive discussion for supporters.

Danny Hylton honoured to receive Oxford United supporters' award

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Monday 27th April 2015

DANNY Hylton was honoured to be voted player of the season by Oxford United’s supporters and capped it off with an excellent display in a 2-0 win against Cambridge United.

Johnny Mullins praises Oxford United's medical team after being knocked out

Oxford Mail:

8:50am Monday 27th April 2015

JOHNNY Mullins praised Oxford United’s medical staff for their swift action after being concussed following a horror fall against Cambridge United.

We were good value for our win, says Oxford United boss Michael Appleton

Oxford Mail:

8:40am Monday 27th April 2015

MICHAEL Appleton felt Oxford United’s performance deserved more than their 2-0 win against Cambridge United, but was delighted to finish on a high in front of the home fans.

FOOTBALL: Battling Banbury United go down in heartbreaking fashion

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Monday 27th April 2015

Banbury United’s 11-year stay in the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division came to an end on Saturday with defeat at Chesham United.

RUGBY UNION: Sending-off was crucial, says Rowland Phillips

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Monday 27th April 2015

London Welsh director of rugby Rowland Phillips felt Chris Hala’uifa’s 55th-minute sending-off had a “massive influence” on their 38-17 defeat by Leicester Tigers in the Aviva Premiership on Saturday.

SWIMMING: Super City of Oxford secure fourth

Oxford Mail: Close up of swimmer for sport

8:00am Monday 27th April 2015

City of Oxford secured a fantastic fourth-place finish in the B final of the National Arena League in Cardiff this weekend.

RUGBY UNION: London Welsh give Leicester Tigers a big fright before slipping to 20th loss

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Monday 27th April 2015

London Welsh gave Leicester Tigers a fright as they briefly threatened to record their first win at Welford Road since 1987 on Saturday.

RACING: Henrietta Knight joins tributes to retiring champion Tony McCoy

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Monday 27th April 2015

Henrietta Knight was among the many to pay tribute to retiring champion jockey Tony McCoy at Sandown on Saturday.

FOOTBALL McNish snatches late victory for North Leigh

Oxford Mail: football generic

8:00am Monday 27th April 2015

Callum McNish scored in the last minute to secure North Leigh a dramatic 3-2 victory at Clevedon Town on Saturday.

Comments (5)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree