Walsall boss Darrell Clarke admitted Oxford United deserved to win Saturday’s Emirates FA Cup tie but was pleased with the application of his players.
James Henry scored the decisive goal in the 84th minute as Karl Robinson’s side progressed to round three.
Oxford are flying high in League One and Clarke felt their quality shone through on the day.
“Oxford were the better team,” Clarke admitted.
“They’ll be a top six League One team, they move the ball very well.
“We were trying to think of a different way to skin a cat.
“My players aren’t at their level but I think effort, endeavour, desire from my lads was there to see, they were putting bodies on the line.
“There’s still three chances to score the first goal, you’re not going to get many with the amount of possession Oxford get.
“You have to make the most of those.
“Like I say, the effort and application was there for all to see.
"Everyone's grafting, the mindset of the players is decent and the effort and application is there for all to see but there's a lot of work to do.”
Oxford ended Walsall’s five match unbeaten run in all competitions as they bowed out of the FA Cup.
Clarke is now keen to rebuild momentum, when the Saddlers spring back into action on Tuesday night in the Leasing.Com Trophy against Chelsea Under 21s.
“I never say to focus on the league; the focus is on the job at hand here,” said Clarke.
“It's a massive job that has to have a continuous base of focusing and improving.
"We were five unbeaten before today but we'll have to kick today and re-group for Tuesday.”
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