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League One

John Mousinho: There's a job to be done!

10 July 2020

Winning promotion is no easy feat. Many teams have tried and failed, many teams have also tried and succeeded – John Mousinho has done pretty much all there is to do.

But that does not stop him from wanting to do it again. The 34 year old has a chance to add a fifth promotion to his CV on Monday night with Oxford United, in this season’s Sky Bet League One Play-Off Final.

Wycombe Wanderers are the U’s opponents, a side that Mousinho is no stranger too, having secured one of his previous promotions with the Chairboys 11 years ago.

But the defender’s message is simple; all loyalties and relationships will be put to one side because there is a job to be done.

“It’s strange for me from a couple of perspectives really,” he says, speaking to the EFL.  

“First of all there is the fact that I used to play for them, I played for the club for a couple of years and had a promotion with them.

“I moved to the area when I was about seven and I still live about five minutes away from the ground and the training ground as well, so they are my local club.

“I have always had a good affinity with the club and the town. I used to go and watch them when I was younger, it is strange for me - but I will put that to one side and deal with it  properly, making sure that it does not impact on any of the work the boys have done.”

Mousinho has tasted Play-Off Final victory once before in his career, scoring the only goal in Stevenage’s 1-0 victory over Torquay United at Old Trafford in 2011.

With that memory still fresh in his mind nine years later, and with the added responsibility that Karl Robinson has entrusted him with, he is hopeful that previous experiences on the big stage can help those younger players within the squad.

“The last time I played in a Play-Off Final was nine years ago at Old Trafford with Stevenage,” he continues.  

“We managed to get 11,000 or so through the door that day, but it seemed like a lot more than that when you are out there."

“There are a lot of things that I can take from that experience and bring it with me into this game, despite it being so long ago but it is difficult bringing past experiences with you because each game is unique.

“A game in-front of no fans at Wembley for a Play-Off Final is a lot different for a start, we will have to see who deals with that better - but experience always helps and it can also help some of the younger lads in the squad as well.”

A place in the Sky Bet Championship awaits the winning side, joining Coventry City and Rotherham United who have also made the step up from League One.

Having spent two seasons in the division with Burton Albion, the defender knows how difficult it can be, but it’s a challenge that he's relishing, should the U’s get that opportunity.

"The Championship is a big, big league and I think we faced Newcastle United when I was at Burton Albion, they were the biggest team up there when we were playing in that division,” he continues.

“It was a comical miss-match, not in terms of the playing side but in terms of the club resources, history, stadium and fan base. We lost to them twice I think, 1-0 and 2-1, so we didn't disgrace ourselves by any stretch of the imagination.

 “Whoever goes up will certainly deserve to be playing football in the higher division, and I’m sure whoever goes up will do the right thing and recruit properly, they won’t disgrace themselves in that league. I think both sides have players that do deserve to play at a higher level.”

At the tender age of 34 attention naturally turns to life after football, and with the responsibilities that are given to him as club captain at the Kassam Stadium, Mousinho clearly enjoys the leadership.

After starting his coaching badges as a young professional at Brentford, they may albeit have taken a back seat during his flourishing career, but he is keen to make the transition from footballer to coach at Oxford United.

“I have got a couple of advantages playing at Oxford United at the minute, the playing side is obviously one and I am delighted to be in the side and really looking forward to another year with the lads next season,” he reveals.

“But the manager has been unbelievable in integrating me into the other side of it as well. There have been a couple of occasions this season where I have not been involved in the matchday squad and he has asked me to help him out with a few things.

“He's not a manager that closes himself off, he is not a manager who doesn’t take advice from some of the senior professionals at the club - his decision is final but he likes to hear what we have to say. My focus is on playing at the moment, but when that day comes to a close I know Oxford is a perfect way to transition to that other side.”

You can follow all the action from the Sky Bet League One Play-Off Final live on Sky Sports or on Twitter via @SkyBetLeagueOne.

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