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Karl Robinson hails Oxford’s victory over MK Dons as ‘a great win’

Karl Robinson’s Oxford beat MK Dons (Nigel French/PA)
Karl Robinson’s Oxford beat MK Dons (Nigel French/PA)

Oxford boss Karl Robinson hailed his team’s dramatic 1-0 success over third-placed MK Dons as “a great win”.

Substitute Billy Bodin’s 86th-minute strike, after a slick one-two with Matty Taylor, kept alive United’s League One play-off chances, and dealt a blow to Dons’ hopes of automatic promotion.

Dons had briefly been in the top two, with Rotherham losing at Burton, only to slip back again to third when Bodin struck.

Robinson said his half-time team talk had been pivotal because Oxford were outplayed in the opening 45 minutes.

“That’s football,” Robinson said. “In the first half we got outnumbered, outrun, the team looked open, beaten… clueless.

“But MK Dons were good in the first half and we were far too cautious, caught between two places. We were nowhere.

“We had a conversation with the players at half-time which was big for us.

“We were the better team in the second half, having been by far the worst team in the first.

“The half-time talk was about who we are as people and what this club means to us and to everyone, especially the supporters. Today that second half was for the supporters.

“We always knew we had something on the bench that could hurt them.

“And we started running much more than we did in the first half.

“It’s a great win and we have surpassed last year’s points total – that’s all you ever want to do – to surpass the previous season.

“We have now beaten MK home and away and Sheffield Wednesday home and away, which is some achievement. The win has tightened everything up (in the race for a play-off place).

“Billy Bodin is so important to us in the 70 to 90 minutes period and it was a special goal.”

Dons boss Liam Manning said: “We’re frustrated. The time and the manner of the goal was the most disappointing thing.

“But we played some terrific stuff in the first half. The discipline, control and focus we had was excellent. We got into so many dangerous areas and looked a threat. The trouble was it fizzled out and didn’t lead to anything.

“It was the old cliche –  a game of two halves.

“We spoke at half-time and knew Oxford would come for us. They had to get the win so would commit extra people forward and get the ball up there quicker.

“It was a big lesson for us in terms of game management and how to ride out the sticky periods which are going to happen.

“It’s about being brave enough to get on the ball and play with a bit of quality which we didn‘t do in the second half.

“We were coming away to a strong side who had to win.

“This was a big occasion for them with a lot on the game. You have to stay calm, cool and focused but we were a little emotional.

“We played the occasion in the second half, but we’re a young group and we have to learn from it.”