OXFORD United used individual meetings to confront problems and come up with something constructive after their miserable midweek display.

Boss Karl Robinson hit out at a lack of desire from his players in the 2-0 defeat to Crewe Alexandra which kept them stubbornly in Sky Bet League One’s bottom four.

It is rare for a manager to publicly question something which should be automatic.

But 12 hours later, the players sat down in turn with the U’s boss for discussions on what had been going wrong and how it could be put right.

They were also in yesterday, on what has normally been a rest day this season following a midweek game.

Josh Ruffels said: “No-one wants to come in after a game and have these meetings, but if you take it the right way and are honest with yourself, it can only be a good thing.

“It’s not nice, we’ve had too many of these already this season, but it’s time for it to really click and for us to move on.

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“I think the boys feel a lot better for getting things off their chest.

“The best way to find a way of winning and see what’s going wrong is to deal with it straight after.”

The harshness of Robinson’s post-match comments stung the changing room.

Matty Taylor said: “As a professional, it hurts you when your desire, pride and effort gets questioned, because that’s the first thing you go out on to the pitch knowing you can do.

“All the other stuff is out of your control, but you can control your effort, passion and desire.”

Ruffels and Taylor are part of the squad’s growing core who hail from Oxfordshire.

That brings with it a more acute understanding of how performances like Tuesday go down with the fanbase, who are unable to vent their frustration from the stands this season.

Ruffels said: “I’m an Oxford boy and there’s a couple of us now. It means a lot to us, we’ve got family and friends who follow us.

“I completely understand their frustrations – it’s their release, to watch us at the weekend.

“We’re disappointed we can’t give them the results we should be getting. I feel for them, we need to turn it around to put smiles on their faces.”

And while the discussions this week have helped, Taylor stressed the only thing which matters is whether it prompts the right response.

“There have been some good conversations, but it’s all very well talking about it, you have to put it into actions,” the striker said.

“Fingers crossed we can learn, which is the most important thing, but we have to learn quickly and then hopefully we get some positive results.”