Michael Appleton, the Oxford manager, felt his team had been punished for a lack of arrogance at Bramall Lane.
Speaking after second-half goals from Billy Sharp and James Wilson fired Sheffield United to their first victory of the League One season, Appleton criticised the visitors’ performance following Kane Hemmings’ opener.
“At some point, because they (United) have got good footballers on the field, they were always going to start winning games,” Appleton said. “Fair play to them. I thought we let them off the hook but they fought to get back in. We have to be more confident, more arrogant even, when we go ahead.”
United defender Jake Wright, a former Oxford captain, felt Chris Wilder’s side had grown in stature after falling behind. Although Hemmings’ strike edged last term’s League Two runners-up into a deserved lead, the hosts wrestled back the momentum to such an extent it seemed almost inevitable when first Sharp and then Wilson pounced.
“When you come away from home and take the lead you should at least be looking to take a point,” Appleton said. “It was a blatant foul in the lead-up to the first goal which everybody saw but the referee. However, we were still in a position to defend it better. There were no surprises in the way they played, what they did or how they did it. We were well prepared.”
“The turning point was definitely the equaliser,” Appleton said. “But it was more about concentration.”