Steven Schumacher

Schumacher's Charlton Reaction

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Argyle manager Steven Schumacher refused to blame Tuesday night’s 5-1 defeat away at Charlton Athletic on the fact that The Pilgrims played more than half of the game with only 10 players.

The Greens were 1-0 down to Jes Rak-Sakyi’s opening goal when James Wilson handled a goalbound shot, conceding a penalty and being sent off for his transgression. Jayden Stockley converted the spot-kick, and Sean Clare added a third before half-time to give Charlton a comfortable cushion.

Morgan Whittaker pulled one back for Argyle to offer a glimmer of hope, but late goals from Charlie Kirk and Miles Leaburn brought The Addicks out of sight.

The numerical disadvantage clearly took the game beyond Schumacher’s side, but he was dissatisfied with how they shaped up even before the dismissal.

“I don’t think we started the game well enough,” said Schumacher. “In the first 10-15 minutes we didn’t do the basics right and when you come to a place like this, that’s bare minimum. We’ve got to do better. We’ve got to find a way where we’re at it from the first whistle.

“We spoke about how well did at the weekend against Peterborough. My team talk was about keeping standards up if you’re going to be a top team. You need back-to-back performances, to find that energy and intensity in your play which we didn’t for the first 15 minutes.

“We couldn’t pass the ball to each other. We kept giving it away under no pressure. That didn’t help.

“We did create stuff. We forced turnovers in their half, but didn’t make the most of them, didn’t hit the target when we got through. We weren’t ruthless. You have to make the most of chances and look after the ball, because it’s important. If we give the ball away in our half which we did three times for goals, then you’ve got no chance.”

Schumacher made three changes at half-time, and two more in the second half, admitting that planning ahead and managing his squad ahead of a trip to Forest Green Rovers this Saturday was more at the forefront of his thinking than masterminding a hugely unlikely comeback.

“I felt the game was dead,” he said. “The third goal, right on half-time, killed it as a contest. Don’t make it embarrassing, try to stick together as a team, work hard. Teams like Charlton are hard enough to play against with 11 men; with 10 it is almost impossible.

“You have to stick in and show a good attitude, and to be fair I thought we did in the second half.   

“Some of the subs were about taking off some of the players we are going to need on Saturday, because that game was done. We have another important one in a couple of days to put that right.”

A small positive from the evening was Whittaker’s excellent solo goal on the Swansea loan forward’s first league start for Argyle. Schumacher spoke of his pleasure at seeing that strike, as well as offering some words of praise for the 1,160-strong Green Army who, despite seeing their side falling further and further behind, continued to make noise and support the team throughout.

“Morgan kept going and scored a great goal,” said Schumacher. “We know he has got quality. He still needs to make quicker decisions at times and pass it every now and again, but he has shown the ability he has got by taking a few players on and smashing one in from outside the box.

“I’m pleased for him that he is off the mark, off and running, and it will give him a bit of confidence.

“The other positive from tonight was our fans. We always praise them when we win, but they were brilliant tonight. They knew the game was over, but they stuck with the players, they stood to clap us, and we’ve got to do better for them. They don’t deserve that. It’s not a good enough performance”

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