OXFORD United were out but not down after their Carabao Cup performance against Manchester City.

The defending champions made ten changes but still named a side packed with international stars and ran out 3-0 winners in the third-round tie.

But City only led by a single goal from Gabriel Jesus heading into the final 15 minutes, before late strikes from Riyad Mahrez and Phil Foden.

And the 10,500 home fans in the sold-out Kassam Stadium rose to give the U’s a standing ovation at the final whistle, acknowledging the underdogs’ display – a far cry from the boos which had rung round following Saturday’s 2-1 defeat against Walsall.

“Every single player who took to the pitch tonight I’m immensely proud of,” boss Karl Robinson said.

“I don’t think we were peppered, I don’t think they missed chance after chance.

“They dominated the ball, but they do that week-in, week-out. We had that bravery. At no stage did we kick Man City, at no stage did we bully them or do things that were against the laws of the game.

“I want to do things the right way. I said to my players before the game, play on the edge, but play with total respect.

“We played with our hearts and our heads, and we showed we can be a good team.”

Shandon Baptiste was surprisingly named as United’s captain for the first time, but the 20-year-old, who last week signed a long-term contract, took it in his stride.

He said: “I just did what I try to do every Saturday.

“It’s been a big season for me so far and it just got even better to play against Man City.

“They’re top-quality players and they do this against the best in the world.

“I think we did well to match them in areas, but obviously fatigue was always going to expose us a little bit more (in the latter stages).”

United made changes for the game with one eye on Saturday’s league trip to AFC Wimbledon.

It saw Sam Long make his first U’s start for almost two years. The full back was up against Spain Under 21 international Brahim Diaz for an hour, before Raheem Sterling replaced him.

Long finished the night with Sterling’s shirt and admitted it had been an experience which would live long in the memory.

He said: “It will probably be the hardest game I’ll ever play in my life, against the best players in the world.

“We stuck to what we wanted to do before the game and gave them a half-decent game.

“These are the crowds you want to play in front of.

“I got told on Monday I was playing and I couldn’t wait to get here, because I knew what it would be like – I’ve seen it before.

“Credit to the club and the fans for coming in their numbers and getting behind us, even though we were 3-0 down.

“It was a good evening for the whole club.”