Steven Schumacher

Leeds United (A) | Schumacher's Preview

Sync Fixtures

As Argyle prepare to head to Elland Road this Saturday, there is little need to overstate the size of the opponents the Greens are taking on.

Leeds United are three-time champions of England, former Champions League semi-finalists, and one-time FA Cup winners. They have the second-highest average attendance in the Sky Bet Championship, and were a Premier League side as recently as last season.

Some might shrink from the challenge, or seek to play down the magnitude of the opposition. Steven Schumacher is not one of those people.

“It doesn't get any bigger,” said the Argyle manager. “I think these are the games that we were all desperate to get to the Championship for.

“When we saw the [Premier League] teams that were struggling at the back end of last season, we said: ‘imagine if we get promoted, we could be going to the likes of Elland Road, and Leicester’ and this is what we're doing.

‘It's going to be a great day. It's one that we're really looking forward to. We know we're going to be up against it, but what a challenge.”

On top of all the history as detailed above, Leeds just happen to be flying this season. They are third in the league, are unbeaten at home and come into this fixture with a victory in their most recent game, against league leaders Leicester City, which was live on Sky Sports last Friday.

Despite that, Schumacher is taking confidence from Argyle’s performances levels over the season, and wants his squad to believe in themselves when they step onto the Elland Road turf.

“I can honestly say I was frightened on Friday night when we were watching them against Leicester,” said Schumacher. “Everybody was eagerly waiting to watch that game; two of the best sides in the division going at it and on the night Leeds were outstanding. I know Leicester might have felt that they were below par, the standards that they've set this season, but I think that was down to Leeds.

“They're in really good form. They've won six out their last eight and they're really motoring. Everyone on the pitch is a strong player. Everyone on the bench is a strong player. It’s a huge challenge.

“This is our 16th game in the Championship - we've been competitive in 14 out of the previous 15. The only time we weren't competitive, and we felt we were below our own standard (a 4-1 loss at Bristol City) we all know what happened that night.

“We have to be organised. We have to make sure that we know what we're trying to do off the ball, because they've got so many good players.

“We have to get a good start in the game, because if you don't get a good start and they get the momentum, then it becomes a long afternoon.

“We have to be focused on that; just focus on the game, not worry too much about the crowd. I know our fans will back us amazingly, and the lads will give absolutely everything for them - our fans know that.

“We’ve asked all the lads to be confident and to go and be us; go and be brave. We know we're going to come under spells of pressure. The crowd will be a huge factor in that. But that's been the same everywhere we've been this season so far.

“We've been playing well, and we've been creating chances; I'm sure Leeds will be aware of that. The message will be exactly the same: go for it. What have we got to lose? Let's go and have a go.”

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