PEP Clotet admitted Oxford United failed to handle Port Vale’s physicality as they were knocked out of the Emirates FA Cup in the first round.

Gavin Gunning and Tom Pope’s goals gave the Sky Bet League Two side a 2-0 victory at Vale Park on a night the U’s will want to forget in a hurry.

It was no smash-and-grab raid from the underdogs, who showed greater energy throughout.

United were simply unable to find an answer and succumbed to their first FA Cup exit at the hands of a lower division side since a 3-2 loss at Chester in 2000.

And Clotet had no complaints.

“Port Vale were 100 per cent up for the game. Their physicality was a problem for us in the game and we could not cope with it,” the United manager said.

“I think it would be maybe better as a 1-0, but I think massive credit goes to Port Vale because they matched our play as much as they could and Pope was superb for them.”

He added: “We’re not happy with what happened.

“Despite the league being the main competition we put a strong side out and really wanted to have a good run in the FA Cup.

“We’re very disappointed, but at this moment we have to be critical with how we played and how we could not cope with the problems we faced in the game.”

James Henry was not impressed with the result, which came hot on the heels of conceding late goals to lose by the same scoreline at Fleetwood Town in Sky Bet League One last weekend.

The midfielder said: “We were poor.

“It’s disappointing, the FA Cup is a great competition and the last two games we know we haven’t been good enough.

“We’ve come up against teams who have been happy to sit in and we haven’t found the answers to break them down.

“Ultimately it’s cost us.”