GARY Waddock was hugely disappointed as Oxford United crumbled to a 3-0 defeat at Southend United in his first game in charge.
The writing was on the wall after a poor start which saw Will Atkinson and Lee Barnard, from the penalty spot, put the home side 2-0 up inside 17 minutes.
United had a couple of opportunities to get back into the game, but could have no complaints over the result, which was sealed by the excellent Jamar Loza late on.
Waddock, who was appointed as U’s head coach on Saturday, had made a point of going to applaud the supporters before kick-off and the new boss sympathised with those who had made the trip.
He said: “It was a very disappointing evening – obviously I feel for the fans that have travelled down here.
“I wanted to do better in terms of getting a result for them as well, so overall it wasn’t the best evening.”
Waddock watched Friday’s 1-0 victory over Hartlepool and struggled to explain why the side were unrecognisable four days later, in a live Sky Bet League Two game.
He said: “I don’t know whether it was because the Sky cameras were here and they were trying to impress too much, I’m not sure.
“I had a long conversation with the players afterwards. They’re obviously disappointed, so we will have to address all that.”
The result could have been much worse without an excellent display from Ryan Clarke.
The goalkeeper made several stops to thwart a buoyant Southend, which more than made up for conceding the penalty.
Clarke was adjudged to have brought down Loza, a decision the U’s No 1 disputed.
He said: “I knew I wasn’t going to get there, so I purposely kept my hands down.
“But I think once he saw me coming, he made the decision to run into me.
“He played for it. I thought it was harsh, but the referee gave it.”
He added: “We started off badly in the first 20 minutes, but still had the chances to maybe go in at half-time with a bit of credit.
“To go in 2-0 down at half-time was going to be a struggle and to be fair to Southend, they were all over us.
“We weren’t making the right decisions. It was nothing to do with the new manager coming in, it’s down to us as professionals to learn how to manage games.”