Oxford boss Liam Manning heaps praise on two-goal hero Billy Bodin

By Sports Desk November 04, 2023

Oxford head coach Liam Manning praised two-goal hero Billy Bodin following the 2-0 FA Cup win over National League Maidenhead at the Kassam Stadium.

Bodin scored in the 15th and 83rd minutes – but in between the Magpies gave it a real go and caused the League One promotion-chasers a lot of problems.

Manning said: “I just hope Billy stays fit because he’s been brilliant today.

“I think he’s in a really good place right now, because for the first couple of games this season he wasn’t in the team.

“But his personality in and around the dressing room has been great.

“I’m going to challenge him to score even more goals now. We know the quality he’s got and he needs to be getting double figures this season.

“So for all the terrific stuff he does, I’m going to keep pushing him to score more.”

Manning admitted the overall performance had been disappointing at times – but the U’s got the job done.

He said: “Cup football’s a bit different.

“We just spoke about it in the dressing room – there are two aspects to the game – it wasn’t the performance we wanted but we got the result.

“In a knockout competition like the FA Cup that’s the most important thing – you want to go through.

“There were large elements of the performance where we know we can be better and improve but there were two moments of real high quality to win the game.

“We have to be reasonable in our expectations – some people haven’t had games recently and that takes a little bit of time.

“We had moments of good play but we know what we’re capable of and we know we can get higher levels.

“But I don’t want to put too much of a dampener on it. What do you want to do, play perfectly and get knocked out or find a way to win? Ultimately that’s what we did today.”

Manning has been linked with the vacant Bristol City job, but he did not want to comment on that.

“I don’t want to detract from today, but I’ve heard nothing,” he said. “And I don’t want to get involved in anything hypothetical, I don’t see the point in it.”

Maidenhead boss Alan Devonshire, serving a touchline ban, said he was unable to speak to the media.

Assistant manager Ryan Peters said: “They’re second in League One so we always knew it would be tough, but I thought we did ourselves proud.

“There were moments in the second half when we had them on the ropes, and we had a few moments where it flashed across their goal.

“You just hope then you can nick one.

“But then they go down the other end and produce those moments of magic that have kept them as high as they are in the league.

“Ironically, scoring goals hasn’t been a problem for us lately, we’ve been scoring goals for fun. It’s been keeping them out at the other end that has been a problem.”

Peters said the occasion was special for the club.

“For quite a lot of these young boys in our team it’s the stage they want to be on, so it’s a big day out for them,” he added.

“It’s a bit of mixed emotions for me. We performed well. But I suppose when you run a team so close – and especially a team that is going so well in League One – yes, you’d like to see it over the line.”

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