Gary Waddock demanded Oxford United to be mentally stronger as their wretched run was extended by a 2-0 defeat at home to Fleetwood Town.

It was a seventh loss in ten games and saw the club drop out of the top seven in Sky Bet League Two for the first time this season.

Fleetwood won the game with goals from David Ball and Antoni Sarcevic, but without some good work from U’s goalkeeper Ryan Clarke the margin of victory could easily have been wider.

Waddock was bitterly disappointed with the setback, which came in his first game in charge at the Kassam Stadium.

United’s head coach admitted the way the hosts fell away after going behind after an even opening half hour was a concern.

He said: “At the moment it’s become a habit, losing, and I don’t like that – we have to turn it around very quickly. The first 25 minutes we were in the game with Fleetwood.

“Then they scored and we were deflated, it really affected us.

“We haven’t got a lot of confidence at the moment and you could see that what we had drained out of us.

“We have to address that and be mentally stronger and we haven’t got a lot of time to put it right.”

Waddock was annoyed with Fleetwood’s opening goal, which came via a corner – something the side had been warned about.

But the new U’s boss acknowledged there were a host of different issues which need to be looked at on the training ground this week ahead of a crunch trip to Plymouth Argyle on Saturday.

He said: “We got a clean sheet here against Hartlepool, but how many goals have we scored?

“How many times have we worked their goalkeeper?

“How many times has he had to pull off a worldy of a save?

“Our goalkeeper at the moment is having to work extremely hard, so it’s a combination of a lot of things and obviously time is running out.”

United were not helped by an injury to Andy Whing, which forced him off at half-time.

The midfielder has only just returned after four months out with a groin problem.

Waddock was unable to give any detail on the injury, more of which may be known today, but after losing Alfie Potter to a knock before the previous game, it was another blow the squad can ill-afford.

He said: “You look at Alfie last Saturday and Whingy now, important players for the team and for the squad.

“At some stage our luck should turn, but it will only turn if you work hard enough.”