KARL Robinson admits Oxford United are struggling to find the right balance between defensive solidity and attacking threat.

The U’s lost at Bristol Rovers yesterday to make it back-to-back 1-0 defeats on the road in Sky Bet League One.

United have looked more secure this season and restricted the Pirates to very few chances at the Memorial Stadium, as they did at Derby County for much of the opening-day clash.

READ MORE: Karl Robinson says Oxford United's forwards 'need to do more'

But they registered just four shots on target in the two matches combined and Robinson knows it is a problem they must address.

“You’re caught in between being entertaining and free-flowing, and solid. From my point of view, we are caught in between them right now,” the U’s head coach said.

“I think no-one can disagree we look solid, I think we deny teams opportunities.

“I think we need more pace on the counter-attack when we’re away from home.

“We’re doing all the things that we’ve worked on, we’re just not taking chances or imposing ourselves enough in the final third away from home.

“Our criticism last year was that away from home we were too gung-ho and we’d get picked off.

“You’ve got to find that balance. We’ve maybe gone a little bit too far one way and need to find a little bit more offensiveness, and keep that solidity.

“You can see what we’ve worked on relation to defensive shape, we’re just not creating enough chances which allow us to miss one.

“That’s what we need to work on in the next few weeks.”

RATINGS: Every Oxford United player marked out of 10 for display at Bristol Rovers

Last season, United were the joint highest scorers in League One with 82 goals, but they only had the equal 12th best defensive record with 59 conceded.

It is early days, but that pattern has flipped this term.

The U’s have scored just once in the league, fewer than everyone except MK Dons and Morecambe, but they have conceded only twice - a defensive record bettered only by Bolton Wanderers.

Marcus McGuane has played a big role in United’s increased security in midfield, having been deployed deeper.

Robinson said: “Marcus has been the best player and he’s been exceptional all the way through this season.

“I think he’s been a real shining light, but other people need to stand up around that.”