Chey Dunkley, the Oxford defender, says his side are striving to emulate Sheffield United after the Blades' 3-2 victory at The Kassam last night.
Dunkley put Oxford ahead with a glancing header in the first half, before table-topping United hit back through Billy Sharp (2) and Kieron Freeman.
Toni Martinez pulled one back late on for the hosts before Dunkley had appeals for a penalty waved away, and the 25-year-old told The Oxford Mail: "We’ve got a young squad and have played a lot of games as well.
“It’s a lot of learning this group of players is doing. I think experience is the difference between the two sides. Maybe they know how to react to disappointment because they kept themselves in the game after going 1-0 down.
“That’s what we’re striving to do – challenge at the top of the league – but it takes time. As the team grows hopefully we’ll get closer to a side like Sheffield United.”
Michael Appleton, the Oxford boss, bemoaned all three goals his side conceded.
“The goals were very sloppy," he said.
“The first one we’ve got to do our jobs properly, the second one was actually a cross, so they got a bit fortunate there, and the third one was just a mess.
“It was just a kick in the teeth we conceded the third goal, because as any home side if you’re only a goal down going into the last few minutes you’ll always have an opportunity.”