Oxford boss Karl Robinson and Lee Johnson have both spoken about the tunnel brawls at half and full time, during today’s game, where Sunderland players apparently gave Oxford a good kicking…
Karl Robinson said: "It wasn't alleging. We have asked the police to come. Their players have seen it, our players have seen it. My player certainly felt it. But for some unknown reason there is no footage. Ironic here, isn't it? My goalkeeper, he was headbutted at half-time, there was a massive brawl in there."
Lee Johnson added: "He [Robinson] has to be careful, I tell you that. He has to be careful. A lot of the narrative in any argument, there's always two sides to any story. There were a lot of Oxford staff who didn't come out of it smelling of roses. I didn't see the first one [at half-time], I saw the second one [at full-time], and for me the second one was really stepping over the mark. I think there's a bit of deflection going on there. I'd like to draw a line under it. For me, it's a man's game and you crack on. It's up to anybody else what they do, but I'd be careful. At half-time I was in the toilet waiting for the boys to come into the dressing room and wondering where everybody was - it's probably a good thing, because I'd have been like Scrappy Doo in there! These things happen all the time, especially in a condensed area, it was handbags really. It happened at the end as well, which isn't ideal, and I think that one was provoked. As a football club I want us to act with class but I also want us to look after each other in those moments. Today we had to look after each other in that tunnel because it was an incident that wasn't great to see, but at the same time it isn't worth blowing it out of all proportion because not a lot happened."
On the fighting on the pitch, LJ had this to say: “You have to respect a good side, with lots of quality, and I thought it was a decent advert for two good footballing sides in League One. Sometimes it was a bit too open but when you have two sides trying to win the game, that can happen. We've always said we've got to win in different ways. We started the game well and bright, and I think then they took over considerably. They caused us a few problems and we had a 20-minute spell before then we took over last ten of the first half. There were a few things we had to fix but it was also their quality, they are a good side and they can stretch you, which is what they did."
"We got the goal and it's the ying and yang of [Jordan] Jones and McGeady, isn't it? You get that exceptional, individual brilliance that we saw at least twice today, and of course there's times where you want them to get in a bit quicker and you want them to be industrious. It's getting the balance at times risking it. Second half we were good and we managed the extra man really well. It's not easy to do that when they're getting eight or nine men the ball. You often get overloads in deep areas and that's something we consider a lot in our training. The boys executed that well today and we created some really good chances."