Preston North End (A) | Schumacher's Reaction
Steven Schumacher says that small details are proving the difference between winning and losing for his Argyle side on the road at the moment.
The Greens lost 2-1 at Preston North End on Saturday, but turned in another very commendable performance, dominating possession and creating more chances than their hosts, but high-flying North End were able to get in front after 38 seconds through Duane Holmes and double their lead before half-time via Liam Millar.
Ryan Hardie’s fifth goal in six league games halved the deficit just after the hour mark, with Argyle peppering the goal in search of an equaliser that regretfully never came.
“I thought we played really well again,” said Schumacher. “Performance wise, the lads did everything that we've asked of them. We felt we dominated the game in large parts, controlled the possession and created some brilliant chances.
“I felt, on the balance, we were probably the better team. Preston do what they do. They defended really well, the goalkeeper made some great saves and they were clinical with a couple of their chances that they had. It’s disappointing to get beaten, but we’ve come away from it again with loads of confidence that we're in these big games and we don't look as though we don't belong here.
“Sometimes you've got to hold your hands up and say that's really good play.
“For their right wing-back to hit the ball on the half volley, 50 or 60 yards, across the other side of the pitch, right to their man, it's good play. The ball bounced to their player, could have gone to one of ours, but it's gone to theirs from a cross and he scored.
“We didn't let our heads drop, we just stuck to the game plan, kept trying to play it our way, knowing it would cause Preston loads of problems. I don't know whether they've had any harder games than that this season. We got into the final third and into their box so many times.
“I don't want to become that team that get there and don't finish anything off. We just need to get better at the small detail.
“We worked all this week on a certain type of cross, then we got into these big areas and we didn't make the right decision with the type of cross that we made. It's important that when you do work so hard to get in the areas that we’ll have to try and execute what we've worked on.”
Last season, at a very similar stage of the campaign, Argyle had a game at Derby County in which they trailed 2-0 yet turned things right around. This game had shades of that, and although the comeback was not completed on this occasion, the near-3,000-strong Green Army contingent showed their appreciation at the full-time whistle for the players’ endeavours.
“At half-time, it felt like a Derby County moment, at a similar sort of time in the year,” said Schumacher.
“We played really well in the first half, didn't want to rip anything up and change anything. Even though we were 2-0 down, we felt we were probably the better team. We just asked the lads to keep going. I said: ‘if we scored a goal, the crowd might get a bit edgy, and we'll push these all away’ - and we did.
“On another day, a ball breaks to us late on in the game and one of our chances that we've had goes in. Today, it wasn't meant to be, but it's not for the lack of trying.
“I think our fans can see what we're trying to do. We're playing well, so just stick with us and eventually we'll get the win in one of these away games.
“The support was just unbelievable. The turnout was incredible. We’ve sold about 6,000 tickets for the two games this week. I think they appreciate what the lads are doing. They've stayed behind today and clapped us off because we've pushed a top of the league team, Preston North End, all the way and made them work hard for their victory. As long as our players keep doing that, then I know the fans will keep appreciating what we're all about.”