Michael Appleton hails impressive display as Lincoln return to winning ways



Posted Sunday, January 09, 2022 by PA

Michael Appleton hails impressive display as Lincoln return to winning ways

Michael Appleton hailed his Lincoln side for producing one of their best performances of the season as they beat Oxford 2-0 at the LNER Stadium.

The Imps had not won in League One since the end of the October and started the match in the relegation zone against an in-form Oxford side.

But City produced a performance which resembled their swashbuckling displays of last season, when they finished fifth and reached the play-off final.

Goals from Anthony Scully in the 40th minute and debutant Morgan Whittaker in the 56th minute saw the Imps secure a much-needed three points and put a dent in the promotion ambitions of Oxford, who saw Herbie Kane sent off 13 minutes from time for a reckless challenge on Lewis Fiorini.

“It’s definitely up there,” said Appleton of the performance. “Especially in the first half, I thought we were great in the first half. We were a little bit disappointed we didn’t come in at half-time two or three up.

“We were on the front foot, passed the ball really well and competed with them in the middle of the park, which I knew we had to do.

“It was everything you’d want and have come to expect.”

Despite their poor recent results, Lincoln played with a refreshing confidence and belief.

“The way the lads have trained over the last two weeks has been really good, they’ve been at it,” said Appleton.

“There’s been a focus to what we do and how we do it. Morgan coming into the building [on loan from Swansea] has given everyone a lift. Seeing Scully come back from injury has given people a lift.

“It’s amazing what a couple of fresh faces in and around the training ground can do. I’m hoping that over the next few weeks, we’ll have three or four more.”

In contrast, Oxford manager Karl Robinson was left deeply disappointed with his side’s first half display in particular.

“The first half was a long way off what we believe is right,” he said.

“You can’t perform how we did in the first half and expect to get anything out of the game. Our decision-making wasn’t right and our technique let us down in the final third. Everything about the first half was wrong.

“I thought we deserved to win the second half. We were much better and made it more difficult for the opposition. But we were fighting an uphill battle.

“It’s a disappointing afternoon. It won’t sit well with any of us. It really hurts and we apologise to the fans who have made the trip out here. We’ve got to do better.

“For me, it’s about learning and being better. Our players learned that if you don’t do the simple things right, you lose games.”

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