THE normal reaction after a defeat is to want an opportunity to put things right as quickly as possible.

But a blank week was well timed for an Oxford United squad to take stock after being on the receiving end of some stick last weekend.

A 2-1 defeat at Fleetwood Town saw them slip to 20th in Sky Bet League One, but boss Karl Robinson feels the negative reaction in the aftermath was unfair.

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Following ten games in five weeks this was always seen as an opportunity for recovery, whatever the result at Highbury.

But it allowed players and staff time to evaluate the situation.

Robinson said: “I think when you’re having difficult times in a team that soul-searching individually is the best start.

“Then you can come in with complete clarity with what you’ve done right and wrong.

“Once you can drop your ego and talk about that, it’s for the greater good of the team.

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“We spoke on Wednesday that we’re always going to have difficulties and different opinions, but the one thing that connects us is the shirt we wear.

“All of our arguments, debates, rights and wrongs we should take out on the opposition.

“The players’ attitude and mentality since they’ve been back has been brilliant.”

The setback in Lancashire brought the table into sharper focus. Despite some stylish football, it shows just one win from seven games.

But Robinson feels the side’s other results – where they have come through two rounds in the Carabao Cup and won their opening Trophy game – should be taken into account.

He said: “We’ve lost four games in ten.

“The difference is some of our good results have been in cup games.

“If we get beaten by West Ham (in the Carabao Cup) people will say there’s another defeat, yet when we win these games people poo-poo them.

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“If you look at all the games we’ve played, our record’s not been bad.”

He added: “We’re fully motivated to prove we are a good team and it’s something that’s a frustration of ours.

“External criticism I don’t think is fair sometimes. I have to back my players in this situation.”

Part of the issue with the league results is a concern about last season’s long struggle against relegation repeating itself.

Robinson points to the performance levels this time around as evidence against that argument.

But the traits which started to turn the tide 11 months ago are just as applicable.

He said: “People have to realise what got us out of the situation after 13 games last season was only ourselves and the constant support the fans gave the players.

“On Saturday we need to make the place very hostile for the opposition and very supportive for our players.

“I know that will be the case, but we also have a duty of care that we have to win.

“We’re not under any illusions either.”