MATTY Taylor believes Oxford United need to show a mean streak as they head to fellow strugglers Wigan Athletic today.

Both sides are in Sky Bet League One’s relegation zone and will be looking to take advantage of the opposition’s fragility to get themselves going.

United were criticised for not showing enough desire as they slumped to a 2-0 home loss to Crewe Alexandra in midweek.

In most of their six other league defeats there has been little in the contest, but the side have developed a habit of coming out on the wrong side of tight matches.

Taylor is one of the senior players in the changing room and thinks there is room for improvement when it comes to managing games.

He said: “I think it’s a great group of lads and they all mean well and want to do right.

“Sometimes in this game you do need to be horrible and be better at the dark arts.

“You look at teams like Charlton, I’m sure if you got the running stats up we’d do better every day of the week.

“But it’s just that bit of knowhow on how to win games, when to quicken the tempo, when to slow it down, when to win free-kicks.

“Little things like that add up to a big thing.”

Both teams at the DW Stadium will be low on confidence, so it will be a case of getting the basics right and limiting mistakes.

Taylor knows momentum can be triggered by relatively small events.

“It’s not even one positive result, it’s some positive actions which raise the lads,” he said.

“It seems we’ve been getting sucker-punches lately.

“It just takes one goal, one good result and it can set you on your way.

“We just have to go in there and scrap away, because we’re at the wrong end of the table.

“You can’t even think about the other end of the table until you’re as far away from this end as possible.”

No-one in the squad has played more games for United than Josh Ruffels, who will today surpass Jake Wright in the club’s all-time appearance standings.

The left back has heard the side being described as ‘too nice’ before and thinks the senior players have to shoulder more of the burden to turn the form around.

He said: “You look at last season, you had Mous (John Mousinho) in the team all the time and (Jamie) Mackie, they are big personalities.

“We have to show our own, without forcing it too much.

“You have to be big leaders to the young boys who are coming in and the loanees.

“We understand that and it’s time for us to really push on and show our character.”