Steven Schumacher

Schumacher's Exeter Reaction

Sync Fixtures

Asked to sum up his first Devon Derby as a manager, Steven Schumacher reached for the perfect word to sum up the tumultuous but thrilling game against Exeter City.

“Emotional,” he said.

It sure was. Emotions aplenty, starting with the nervous tensions that precedes a game which not only was live on Sky against local rivals, but saw Argyle putting an eight-game winning run at home on the line.

Then came despair at Exeter’s opening goal, followed by instant relief as Morgan Whittaker equalised immediately.

A demoralising dread then set in as City made it 2-1 early in the second half, but the joy of Bali Mumba’s fabulous leveller heralded the sheer elation of substitute Ryan Hardie’s double strike that swept Argyle to a 4-2 win at a tempestuous Home Park, both in conditions and in spirit.

“It was a bit of roller-coaster,” said Schumacher. “It was not great conceding the first goal, not great going behind, but I’m relieved that it’s over and pleased with how the lads responded to two moments of adversity.

“They responded straight away from the first goal and Bali produces an unbelievable strike to get us out a bit of a mess that we put ourselves into.

“When you have people with the quality we have got in the team, you’ve always got a chance.

“[It was] an unbelievable touch-and-finish from Morgan, Bali produces a worldie, and Ryan Hardie comes off the bench, doesn’t moan, and looks a real threat when he gets on the pitch. The two chances that he had, he despatched them perfectly.”

Schumacher at times appeared to be the calmest person inside a sold-out Home Park, and explained that at times the emotions he displays, including when he is a little more demonstrative, is all part of the plan.

“When we have setbacks, it is important that nobody panics,” he said. “The bench is quite calm, we figure out what has gone on. The players are not falling out with each other, they are not getting on each other’s backs. They just have to work a bit harder to get back into the games.

“There are times where I have to be animated, to get messages to the players, but when there’s 16,000 in the house it is hard. I always have headaches after games because I shout so loud!

“But if the players can see that we are calm on the sidelines, and we’re not going crazy and falling out with them if they make a mistake, they understand that we back them and give them confidence to keep trying to play and do the right things.”

The win means Sky Bet League One leaders Argyle have now set a club record by winning their opening nine home matches. The Pilgrims have never before won nine straight league games at home, at any stage of the season.

“I’m really proud that I am a part of that,” said Schumacher. “Hopefully it goes down in history – fingers crossed we make it ten.”

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