PEP Clotet felt Oxford United took a step in the right direction after Saturday’s nightmare, despite conceding a late goal to draw at Gillingham.

Ricardinho’s deflected strike early in the second half put the U’s on course for a morale-boosting victory.

Three points would have been a timely tonic, given the way they had been humiliated 7-0 at home to Wigan Athletic on Saturday.

But Conor Wilkinson landed a late blow in the Boxing Day clash, bunding in from close range to secure a 1-1 draw.

While it was a painful way to let two valuable points slip through their fingers, in the context of the weekend it still represented progress.

Clotet had watched the Wigan game in full four times in the previous two days and was buoyed by the response, having defended his players in the aftermath.

He said: “We all had a lot of talks from Saturday and I showed my trust in them is total.

“They paid it back with a really good performance.

“We were very solid and good going forward. It’s just a pity we didn’t get the three points.”

He added: “I’m still not finished analysing (the Wigan game).

“But it makes you reflect and understand it’s not good enough. You look at what you want to do better.

“You cannot fix it all in one day. We want to keep correcting and keep going the way we’re going.”

The problem for United was an inability to kill the game off after taking the lead.

Gillingham looked ripe for being hit on the counter-attack, but Wes Thomas wasted the visitors’ one big chance to make it 2-0 when he hurried a poor lob which was easily saved 12 minutes from time.

Clotet said: “We feel a little bit hurt because we didn’t get the three


“We worked very hard, but we know to get them we should have scored the second goal.

“Despite that we’re very positive and value the point here.

“The fact what happened on Saturday it was very important for us to put in a strong display.

“That’s what I think we achieved today.”

Ricardinho was among the United players who argued the corner from which the equaliser came should never have been given, as it appeared to come off a Gills player.

He said: “I don’t think it was a corner, but we have to work hard to protect our goal as much as we can.

“If you don’t focus for 95 minutes they can hurt you.”