OXFORD United’s players must do all they can to impress as their new manager watches on, according to skipper John Mousinho.

The club’s search for Pep Clotet’s replacement is into its third week, with Everton Under 23 coach David Unsworth remaining as the front-runner.

But Derek Fazackerley did his chances no harm with the victory at Charlton Athletic and with chairman Darryl Eales in “no rush” about the process, the caretaker boss may be given another opportunity at home to Bristol Rovers this Saturday.

Mousinho knows that however long the process takes, the players’ performances will be being scrutinised right now by Pep Clotet’s successor.

He said: “We have to make sure we don’t use the departure, or the fact we haven’t got a new permanent manager, as an excuse.

“In fact you can use that as motivation – the lads have got to think that every week the new manager could be watching, or sitting there managing us right now.”

None of the other candidates have been in the game as long as Fazackerley, who has been focusing on drilling United’s defence since taking charge.

Mousinho said: “He’s got masses of experience and that’s important for the boys to realise.

“In terms of coaching and playing, his CV is incredible and I hope the team makes the most of that.”

He added: “There’s not been a huge amount (of changes) because Faz took a lot of training under the old manager.

“Maybe there’s been a bit more of a focus on the defensive work.

“One of the issues we’ve had is we’ve been making mistakes and they’ve been followed by more.

“Goals are usually not down to one error, it tends to be five or six.

“That’s been the case this season when we’ve conceded goals that we’ve made, four, five, six errors on the bounce.

“We need to cut that out and make sure we bail each other out. It’s a mentality as well as a tactical and technical issue.”

Victory at the Valley saw United move back up to tenth in Sky Bet League One and narrow the gap to the play-offs to seven points.

While they will need a vast improvement in consistency to get into the mix for the top six, Mousinho is determined to keep looking up.

He said: “If anyone in the changing room has any long-term ambitions they have to make sure the season doesn’t peter out.

“It’s great to have ambitions, if you don’t have them you’re wasting your time.”