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23 January 2016

Boss reflects on Oxford loss

It was only a fourth league defeat of the season for Pompey.

And Paul Cook conceded that promotion rivals Oxford were the better side following their 1-0 victory at Fratton Park.

Jordan Bowery came off the bench to score the only goal of the game 14 minutes from the end.

That came after debutant Ryan Fulton had first conceded and then kept out a penalty from Liam Sercombe.

Cook was disappointed that his troops could not hurt United more, but was impressed with Michael Appleton’s visitors.

The Blues boss said: “I thought we were the second best team out on the pitch, especially in the first half.

“Oxford were excellent and caused us no end of problems, while we stuttered a bit after a great performance on Tuesday night.

“We just didn’t look as good as we have done lately in terms of solidity and creating chances.

“We had the best opportunity of the first half when Marc McNulty had one cleared off the line, but didn’t really open them up.

“That’s disappointing, but we have to give our opponents credit and they deserved the result.

“They were better than us – we couldn’t get near them. They’re the best team to come to Fratton Park this season without a doubt.

“But there are 19 games still to go and the big thing for us is to remain focused on what we have to do. There are some big games coming up for us.”

Teenager Fulton was thrown straight into the side after arriving on loan from Liverpool the previous day.

Cook said: “Ryan’s a young lad and he would have enjoyed his debut, but as well as Oxford played, he didn’t have too many saves to make.”

Watch Cook's thoughts on the game below or subscribe to Pompey PlayerHD for extended interviews with the manager, Ben Close and Gareth Evans.

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