Graham Coughlan’s first thoughts were with the family of Junior Agogo after his Bristol Rovers side had won a fierce battle in searing heat against Oxford.
Rovers dedicated the game at the Memorial Stadium to the memory of their former striker, who died during the week at the age of 40.
Coughlan said after the 3-1 win: “It was a real shock when I heard of Junior’s death.
“I think he would be proud of the way the current Rovers team performed today in a game that was for him. I feel for his family, hoping they come thorough this awful time.”
Oxford took a 27th-minute lead when Ben Woodburn sent a right-footed shot past Anssi Jaakkola from 25 yards, but 10 minutes later Rovers were level through Ed Upson’s long-range volley.
Jonson Clarke-Harris headed the hosts in front from Josh Hare’s cross just before the interval and Tom Nichols made sure of the points after 77 minutes, netting just moments after being introduced as a substitute.
Coughlan revealed that after last weekend’s defeat at Coventry his daughter had been abused on social media.
“I won’t stand for that,” he said. “It is the first time something like that has happened in all my time involved in football in England.
“The fans can hurl abuse at me if they like. Maybe I deserved some after our start to the season and I am strong enough to take it, but leave my family alone.
“I hope those expressing negative opinions after the Coventry game will now admit that we have some good players technically and in terms of putting in the required effort.
“It was tough for both teams out there with the temperature 28 or 29 degrees. We’ll need to check the players out carefully before Tuesday’s Carabao Cup game with Brighton.”
To compound Oxford’s misery, they lost new signing Matty Taylor, the former Rovers striker who is on loan from Bristol City, with a leg injury after 32 minutes.
Manager Karl Robinson said: “Matty has a groin problem and will have a scan before we find out how serious it is.
“I can’t complain about today performance wise. I felt we were the better team and Rovers’ first goal came out of the blue at a time when we were on top.
“We have played well in the last three games without getting the results we wanted. That can’t keep happening, although I hope if the performances continue things will start going our way.
“If there is something that concerns me it is that when we fall behind the lads can be a bit too eager to get back in front again. That is understandable, but can be counter-productive.
“It was tough conditions today, even watching, and I have no complaints about the efforts of the players. We will dust ourselves down and go again against Millwall in the cup next week.”