PEP Clotet felt Oxford United’s attacking display outweighed their defensive shortcomings despite losing 4-3 to Milton Keynes Dons in the Checkatrade Trophy last night.

The defeat was United’s third in a row, but was still enough to see them into Friday’s second round draw as runners-up in Southern Group G on goal difference.

It was a very mixed night at the Kassam Stadium, in a game watched by just 1,182 spectators.

The U’s, who had struggled to create chances in defeats at Fleetwood Town and Port Vale, looked far more dangerous up front, with Jack Payne bagging a brace and Rob Hall on target.

Rediscovering a cutting edge encouraged Clotet, who did acknowledge United’s defending had left a lot to be desired.

The U’s manager said: “It was a typical cup game where it was open and anything can happen.

“There’s a lot of things you’re obviously not happy about, because if you score three goals at home you expect to win the game.

“But if there was one day where that could happen, it was today.

“At least we managed to solve the problems we had last week (at Port Vale on) when it comes to going forward.”

He added: “I think we can really take some negatives out of the game, like they managed to score straight after we scored.

“Those are things that we need to be able to tie the game down and close it before we get playing again.

“But these things happen in the cup much more than the lea- gue.”

The opening goal will be particularly frustrating, with United caught cold by a quickly-taken corner which gave Brandon Thomas-Asante a simple finish.

Clotet said: “MK Dons were very smart there.

“It took us three or four seconds to get back and set up. They used it very well to score.

“Our defence could have been better in a few of the goals.”

Payne’s double, the second of which came from the penalty spot, made him United’s joint top-scorer with five goals.

The Huddersfield Town loanee said: “It was a bit of a crazy night with a lot of goals going in and unfortunately it went in their favour, which was a shame.

“It’s disappointing, but we’ve still managed to go through in the group, which was the aim.”