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Oxford United midfielder Marcus McGuane on Plymouth defeat and injuries


Sep 14, 2022

MARCUS McGuane felt Oxford United needed to be braver in their 1-0 defeat at Plymouth Argyle.

The U’s weathered the hosts’ fast start and reached the break goalless, but Morgan Whittaker’s 70th-minute strike proved the difference.

Third-place Argyle have started the Sky Bet League One season with four wins out of four at Home Park, without conceding a goal.

READ MORE: Plymouth Argyle 1-0 Oxford United – Oxford Mail verdict

But that was not an excuse for McGuane, who thought United’s performance dipped after the break.

“I think it was a game of two halves,” the 23-year-old said.

“In the first half we could have been better, but we competed well. We felt good out there, we felt quite in control.

“In the second half, we maybe lacked a little bit of courage to play.

“There are a lot of things we know we can work on. Plymouth are a good team, but we want to come to places like this and match them.”

The midfielder continued his excellent start to the season with another strong showing in Devon, particularly in the first half.

RATINGS: Every Oxford United player marked out of 10 for performance at Plymouth

Plymouth were United’s toughest opponents of the campaign so far, on paper at least, and McGuane gave an insight into the mindset he took onto the pitch.

He said: “I back my ability, but like for the whole team we need to win our individual duels.

“If seven of us win those duels, I’m sure we’ll get a positive result.

“Personally, it’s what I want to do, but I know all the boys have the same mindset.”

United welcomed Steve Seddon back from injury, while Billy Bodin returned from suspension to start up front and Djavan Anderson made his first appearance after his work permit was granted on the morning of the game.

Sam Baldock, Josh Murphy, Elliott Moore, Matty Taylor and Yanic Wildschut are still sidelined, with the Suriname winger the only one of that group not expected to be fit by the end of the month.

Their returns will be a huge boost for the U’s, who slipped to 15th with their first League One defeat since August 16.

READ MORE: Karl Robinson's assessment of defeat at Plymouth

But McGuane insists United’s available players continue to back themselves to get results in their absence.

“We have to focus on the positives,” he said.

“We know we’ve got some top players out injured and when they come back it’s going to change the dynamic of the team.

“At the same time, we’ve still got 18 quality players in the squad so we have 100 per cent belief in the team the gaffer puts out.

“We know that we need to be better, I feel like we are turning a corner.

“There’s a lot of belief in that changing room and we need to stick together.

“You can’t always win, but we need to come with the mindset that we need to win every game and take three points as much as we can.”

Head coach Karl Robinson suggested that Baldock, Moore, Murphy and Taylor could be available for the visit of Fleetwood Town on September 24.

He said: “We’re hoping to have them back by a week Saturday, that’s the plan.

“We hope to have them training at the back end of the week, or early next week.”