Oxford United manager Pep Clotet praised the club’s fans following his side’s 3-0 dismantling of Gillingham at the Kassam on Saturday.
Second half goals from Jack Payne, Joe Rothwell and Rob Hall made it three goals and three points in a dominant performance – but the U’s had to wait until the second half to make their dominance count.
Clotet, who has enjoyed a positive start in charge of United, said: “In the end it turned out to be a strong victory in the same way we beat Portsmouth here.
“But I must thank the fans because the game was a bit locked and it took us 10/15 minutes to put our footprint into the game.
“The fans were really patient with the way the team was building up and playing – and we got the win in the second half.”
United were the better team throughout but had to wait until the second half to assert their dominance and secure the points.
But what a start to the second half it was.
Three goals in eight minutes made it the second 3-0 win at the Kassam Stadium already this season.
The U’s had lift off just three minutes into the second period when Jon Obika cut back a parried Hall effort for Payne to instinctively flick into the back of the net.
And the points were Oxford’s with two goals in two minutes.
First, goalscorer Payne turned provider when he played a defence-splitting pass for Rothwell to double the lead with a composed finish on 54 minutes.
Gillingham, who remain winless in the league this season, were all at sea and moments later it was 3-0 when Obika backheeled into the path of Hall, whose shot powered beyond Tomas Holy at his near post.
And United should have had more when substitutes Wes Thomas, Alex Mowatt and Gino van Kessel (three times) all went close after establishing the lead.
Clotet said moving the ball around quicker in the second half was the difference.
Echoing his gaffer’s thoughts, debutant John Mousinho, who made his 400th league appearance, said: “They made it very difficult for us in the first half and we probably didn’t move the ball quick enough.
“We came out in the second half with a completely different mindset and mentality. We opened them up, got the goal and the game really opened up for us. It was pleasing all round.”