ARGYLE manager Ryan Lowe got the start he would have wished for after an outstanding 3-0 victory at Crewe Alexandra in the opening game of the Sky Bet League Two season.
A spectacular early goal from Callum McFadzean was followed up by a sweet finish from Joel Grant in a rousing first period for the Pilgrims. Crewe applied plenty of pressure after the break but were hit on the counter by a second from McFadzean in stoppage time.
It was great stuff for Ryan and his team, but the manager is already demanding more from the players as we set off on a nine-month adventure.
“You build up for five or six weeks and that’s what you want; an opening-day win,” he said. “I’m pleased with the goals, pleased with the clean sheet but disappointed at not keeping the ball well enough toward the end.
“The standards are high and they’ll get higher because I demand it but I couldn’t have asked for a better start.
“We knew they [Crewe] would come at us because they’re a fantastic team but we felt we would be too strong for them in possession, and out of possession. We were comfortable but let them come into it in the second half and you can’t let a Crewe side do that.
“They have a never-say-die attitude and we had to withstand that little storm. They were never going to lie down.
“Jose [Baxter] came on and you could he was calm on the ball with his little touches, which is what we needed because Crewe were getting on top. We put him on to do that and I was mindful that Joe [Edwards] was on a yellow card.”
One of the hallmarks of Ryan’s promotion-winning season with Bury last year was the togetherness he built among the players at a club struggling desperately with financial problems.
He now has stability and security at Home Park, but the importance of team-bonding remains a massive feature of Ryan’s managerial approach.
“The gelling happened the minute we walked in the building and I’m big on that; galvanising players and mixing with them,” he said.
“We work with them and bond with them, running up and down hills in Spain. That’s bonding for me and we knew we would get that. Every club I go to in my career will have that because we’re a family now.
“I’ve told them that if anybody hurts me, they are hurting the boys, and anybody hurts them, they are hurting me. We’re a family and you can become successful like that.
“When you come to a football club like Argyle, you want to get off to a good start. We will have bumps in the road during the season because you can’t beat everybody 3-0, we know that, but I’m happy to get off to a good start.”