Oxford boss Karl Robinson relishing play-off test

Oxford United v Burton Albion – Sky Bet League One – Kassam Stadium
Oxford United v Burton Albion – Sky Bet League One – Kassam Stadium (PA Wire)
14:53pm, Sun 09 May 2021
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Oxford boss Karl Robinson heaped praise on his players after they sneaked into the Sky Bet League One play-offs with a thumping 4-0 win against Burton.

Victory, combined with Portsmouth’s 1-0 home defeat to Accrington, saw the U’s make the top six for the second season running.

Mide Shodipo, Matty Taylor, Elliot Lee and Sam Winnall were on the scoresheet to make it a remarkable 27 goals from seven games and 77 in total for the campaign – third in the division behind Hull and Peterborough, who claimed the automatic promotion spots.

Robinson, who had to watch the game from the stand after starting a four-game touchline ban, said: “We’re ecstatic, over the moon.

“We’ll go into the play-offs as the ones who are expecting not to go through.

“I’ll be watching it from the stands again – that may be the best way for me!

“What a season it has been. Bottom of the table at one stage, fighting it out in the bottom four in November and now in the play-offs!

“The players have been immense. There was a real calmness in our play today. Our back four had to deal with a lot of direct play and we stood up to the challenge.

“I’m not concerned about me not being in the dug-out. It was more about us, not about me, and I felt we performed very calmly – and that’s how I want us to be.

“People go on about me being emotional and wearing my heart on my sleeve, but as a team we show tremendous calmness.

“One of our big motivations is that there will be fans here to watch us in our next game, the home leg of the play-offs.”

Oxford won six of their final seven matches, and Robinson said: “It’s been an outstanding end to the season. I’m immensely proud of my team.

“This has been going on for three years, though, and we are now a big force in League One.

“We can celebrate this because we weren’t expecting it. I was nervous when there were still 10 minutes to go at Fratton Park, but when it got to 91 or 92 minutes gone I was fairly confident because I know how hard it is to score twice in just a couple of minutes.”

Burton boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink said: “I think we were far off it. That was not us.

“They were better, we were second in everything.

“We played too much in front of them, and I am very disappointed because I wanted the season to end in the right way.

“I suppose, if you are going to lose, this was the day to do it. But it still really disappoints me because today was just not good enough. My lot were unrecognisable. It was not us.

“We still have a big job ahead of us.

“It’s a big lesson for me about characters and attitudes.

“There were two who were on it – Michael Mancienne and Tom Hamer – and I know what I’m going to get from them every time. But nearly all the others were not on it.

“We can’t take anything away from what we have achieved. From where we’ve been to where we have come is just amazing.

“We have been on a big run, it’s just a shame the way it has ended today.”

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