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Wilder hails Oxford United's 'biggest win of season'
CHRIS Wilder hailed Oxford United’s 3-1 win at Hartlepool as the best result of their bright start to the season.
The visitors were hampered by injury and suspension, depriving them of Jake Wright, Andy Whing and Dave Kitson – their first-choice spine.
Others in the squad were not fully fit, but the problems were shrugged off as goals from Ryan Williams, Deane Smalley and Asa Hall saw off Hartlepool to continue the superb away form which has seen them collect 13 points from a possible 15.
Considering the issues affecting the squad, Wilder felt the result could not be underestimated as the U’s bounced back from a first defeat of the season against Chesterfield a week earlier.
“It’s the biggest result of the season, by far,” the United manager said.
“Portsmouth (a 4-1 win) was obviously a massive result and set us off, but this is right up there. “With the adversity we have had, the players we have had to work with and what we have got off the bench as well it’s a really good effort for everybody.”
Going into the game Wilder thought the result would say a lot about the character in the squad.
He said: “We talked about it on Friday night that I believed this would be a big day for us.
“I think if we had not got something from the game it would have heaped a ton of pressure on us.
“We all know there is an expectation and we wanted to answer all those questions out on the green grass.
“I think we did that.”
The U’s boss thought his side could have won the game during a dominant opening spell.
His only criticism was a poor start after the break, which allowed the hosts back into the contest.
He said: “We managed the game extremely well, apart from a period just after half-time. “We gave away too many free-kicks and allowed the opposition back into the game.
“In the first 20 minutes we got into so many good positions that we just needed that final ball with a bit of quality. “I think we could have taken the game away from them in that period.
“We talked at half-time at having to manage the game and we didn’t do that very well for the first 15 minutes of the second half.
“This team has got to understand if we were 1-0 down at home there is going to be a reaction. “How many times have we come back in the second half of games?
“I can’t be too critical of the players with what’s gone off.”
He added: “That’s four wins out of five on the road, which is just exceptional.”
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