PEP Clotet praised Oxford United’s work-rate for what he felt was a deserved point in the 1-1 draw at Roots Hall.

Having come from behind to level through Wes Thomas, United had three good chances early in the second half to take the lead.

But Southend responded and piled on the pressure in the closing stages, having two goals ruled out for offside.

United have been stung by conceding late on this season and Clotet was pleased to see them weather the storm and take something from a tricky game.

He said: “Absolutely, because they are a very aggressive side.

“They put a lot of balls into the box and play percentage football.

“It’s about putting the ball in there and trying to grab the second balls and try to get shots in.

“I think not only did we manage to get through it, but we did it right.”

He added: “We know we’ve achieved a good result at a tough place for us.

“We did it thanks to hard work and playing the right football that was required and trying to make the best out this game knowing the opposition would be very difficult to beat.

“That means for us it’s a deserved point, because we worked every minute and that puts us in a good position to keep working next week.”

The U’s boss was forced into a change in the opening ten minutes after Joe Rothwell limped with a hamstring problem.

It was an alarming sight for a squad becoming increasingly stretched by injuries, but Clotet was upbeat about the midfielder’s chances of a swift return.

He said: “The medical staff told me it was more of a precaution. It doesn’t look like he’s badly damaged.”