Karl Robinson praised the strength of character of his Oxford side after goals from deadline-day signings Elliot Lee and Brandon Barker edged them closer to the Sky Bet League One play-off zone.
Lee ran onto a James Henry pass to fire the visitors ahead after 29 minutes and substitute Barker scored the clincher in stoppage time to see off spirited Rovers.
The home side had their chances, but, while Robinson admitted it was not his side’s best display of the season, he was delighted with a thoroughly professional performance.
He said: “When you are not at your best you need to be strong mentally and we showed that in abundance tonight.
“I told the lads in the dressing room afterwards that our starting line-up kept us in the game and our substitutes won it for us. Everyone played a part.
“It’s never easy playing a Paul Tisdale team and Rovers gave it their all. But we stayed solid, showed a lot of character and took our chances when they came.
“We’re in the middle of a set of fixtures that could take us into the top six of League One and a cup final in the EFL Trophy.
“I have a great group of lads who work for each other, which makes the job so enjoyable. We were unlucky to lose our last game but we’ve bounced back here and if we can keep things going there’s so much to look forward to.”
Rovers boss Tisdale did his best to remain upbeat on a frustrating evening that ended with his team only above the relegation zone on goal difference.
He said: “I thought it was a fabulous performance by the players against a very good side.
“We did so many things right, but we can’t put the ball in the net at the moment and that has to change quickly.
“I’m having to rely on young, inexperienced strikers and I’m not a magician. So many things the team did tonight were what we had been working on, but we have to convert our chances.
“Oxford gave us a lesson in finishing. But from what I saw in the game I know I have a team and that they are doing their best for me.
“That was also evident in our last game against Fleetwood and if it continues, we can get out of trouble.
“We will work at our finishing on the training ground, but we have no experienced strikers and that makes things very difficult. I can only repeat that I am not a magician.”
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