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Karl Robinson reflects on ‘outstanding’ recent form after Oxford thump Port Vale

Karl Robinson has been delighted with his team’s turnaround (Barrington Coombs/PA)
Karl Robinson has been delighted with his team’s turnaround (Barrington Coombs/PA)

Oxford boss Karl Robinson believes Saturday’s 4-0 win over Port Vale capped an “outstanding” couple of weeks that have seen his team climb away from danger to sit 12th in Sky Bet League One.

Billy Bodin and Matty Taylor both scored twice as the U’s recorded their biggest win of the season, stretching their unbeaten run to five matches.

Robinson said: “It’s been an outstanding four games.

“We’ve had good away performances, but it’s winning at home that creates tremendous momentum and excitement about the place.

“We know we haven’t been good and we’ve been saying that, although we feel we’ve been better than it looked in the table, we could still do more.

“With players coming back to fitness and our back four now more settled, it’s getting better.

“Without Cameron Brannagan suspended and others out today, that performance was a tremendous testament to the players.”

Robinson added: “I was worried about this game. I’ve seen Port Vale play three or four times and how much energy they have, and with us playing on Wednesday night it was a real concern.

“But it was a really gritty and determined effort by my team. We’re doing all right – it’s two defeats in nine in the league.

“I’m really tired. I need a break and a day away from football. It’s been a hard fight this year for everyone and we’ve all put a lot more effort into this and I’m really pleased for my players because they all put so much work into this game.

“The big thing for me was the miss they had at 1-0…. Ellis Harrison’s header when he missed and we got our second goal on the back of that.

“Key moments that maybe haven’t been falling for us went our way today.”

Robinson singled out the performance of midfielder Lewis Bate.

“Lewis was my man of the match,” he said. “He’s gone a bit under the radar, but today he gave us so much stability.

“Short-term results are incredibly important and hopefully now we’ve put ourselves in a half-decent position in the top half of the table.”

It was Port Vale’s joint-heaviest defeat of the season.

Vale boss Darrell Clarke reflected: “We’ve had good performances in the last three away games and today we didn’t really get going.

“We gave away a soft early goal, which you don’t really want to be doing, which got their confidence up, and then we were chasing the game for the majority of it.

“We had good chances and didn’t take them, and they were very clinical.

“At times we looked soft, and I don’t like that. Too many of my players today weren’t at it and we’re going to have to respond.

“It should give everyone a big kick up the backside and make them realise what a long way we’ve got to go to be an established League One team, because on that performance we’re nowhere near it.

“I feel sorry for the tremendous support we had here, and thank them for their support and apologise for the performance.

“We have to show, as a group, how we respond, but we have good characters and I’m pretty confident we’ll do that.

“We have to make sure we have a real hard, strong week on the training pitch to make sure we respond next Saturday.”