Pep’s on a high but Ardley is in a rage
PEP Clotet insists that when Oxford score first they are almost unstoppable in League One after his side swept Wimbledon aside.
Wes Thomas got the party started at the Kassam Stadium with a superb centre-forward’s goal, before left-back Ricardinho and Xemi Fernandez put gloss on the win after half-time.
It was the second time in a week that the U’s have won by three goals in the league, and Clotet was understandably elated with his players’ efforts.
“It’s not easy to play Wimbledon, they have a good track record against Oxford and they are a team that defend very well,” he said.
“So for us there were a lot of difficulties we had to overcome to dominate the game and we did it, the players did the job right.
“When we had to defend, they did it with purpose and with a view to win the ball and counter-attack.
“We haven’t scored first for five games and we have a feeling that every time we start strong and we score in the first half, we normally find it a little bit easier to play our football.”
Thomas sparked the game into life after 12 minutes. The striker had no support when found by Ryan Ledson’s through ball, but he outmuscled Barry Fuller and Deji Oshilaja before firing into George Long’s left-hand corner.
Neal Ardley’s side finished the first half the stronger however as George Francomb slid an effort past Simon Eastwood’s left-hand post, but seconds after half-time Oxford doubled their lead.
Thomas’s persistence prevented the Dons defence from clearing James Henry’s chipped cross and Ricardinho fired into an empty net.
And Fernandez added insult to injury with five minutes to go, driving home from close range after Long had parried Henry’s effort, leaving Wimbledon boss Ardley disgusted after four league games without a win.
He said: “It’s not good enough. I stick up for the team the last six games when results haven’t gone our way.
“We talked about a poor run of form and I said we were playing well, the results just weren’t happening, but I can’t defend that.
“I was having to shout at players to play with more intensity 20 minutes in and that hurts, that’s disappointing, because for six games that hasn’t been the case.
“Then we give away what can only be described as awful, awful goals. When you’re struggling to net, the last thing you want to do is chase games.”