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No let up in Oxford United's pursuit of improvement
THEY may be top of the pile with a 100 per cent league record, but anyone who thinks Oxford United are resting on their laurels ahead of tomorrow’s visit to Torquay United is sorely mistaken.
A hunger for improvement runs deep throughout the players and staff, which means performances are analysed whatever the result.
This week the focus has been on a sloppy start to the second half which allowed Bury back into the game last weekend.
The U’s conceded and although they went on to finish the game strongly, winning 2-1, the flaws have not been swept under the carpet.
U’s boss Chris Wilder said: “From our point of view we didn’t start the second half as well as we should have done.
“We all recognise that, we didn’t go away thinking ‘we’re top of the league, we’re the bee’s knees and we’ve got nothing to work on.
“We continually look at our team and we showed the boys the DVD of that 20 minutes and what we could do better.
“The starts of both halves are important parts of the game and the players took it on board.
“One thing we always do is look at what we could have done better.
“You talk about it, show them on the training ground or look at the DVD and we’ve done all three this week.
“It’s the same whether we’ve won, drawn or lost, because if we had dropped points we would have said the first 20 minutes had cost us.”
One area which needed little research for Wilder is on his opposite number tomorrow.
He and Alan Knill first met at Southampton more than 30 years ago and remain in regular contact.
Wilder was Knill’s assistant for six months at Bury before taking the U’s job, so is well aware of the danger Torquay pose.
He said: “I know how hard he works and he’s a talented manager.
“It’s a similar situation to when he took over at Bury mid-season and saved them from relegation.
“Now he’s had a whole pre-season, so I know how hard he’ll be working on their shape.
“I certainly don’t believe they will struggle this season because he’s brought in some good players.”
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