Schumacher's Oxford Reaction
‘Buzzing’ was Steven Schumacher’s first word, when asked how he felt in the aftermath of Argyle’s 1-0 win at home to Oxford United.
You can understand why. This was his team’s fourth straight win in Sky Bet League One. It was also the fourth win, out of four, in the league at home this season, with four clean sheets into the bargain.
‘Buzzing’, though, was probably not the word to describe Home Park at kick-off, though. This, too, was understandable. The pre-match build-up, both in the days and minutes before kick-off, was dominated by the news of the death of Her late Majesty The Queen, and after an impeccably observed minute’s silence and many people’s first time of singing the amended words of the National Anthem, it was time for football.
Schumacher knew his team needed to play their part in rousing the crowd and, with a very fast start, the players responded. So too did the Green Army, appreciating the skill and effort being shown in a first half Argyle dominated.
A goal, though, was not forthcoming, and neither, it has to be said, were clear cut chances. Eventually, substitute Morgan Whittaker pounced after fellow sub Niall Ennis’s shot was blocked, and Whittaker’s fine finish ended up being the numerical difference between the teams.
“A great result, a good performance,” said Schumacher, summing up. “Another team have come here and failed to score against us. That’s a credit to all the players, the way we are defending our box and the way we are causing teams problems, especially here, is really pleasing.
“It’s a good mix. We’re in good form. Having 18 points from eight games is a very good start. Not many people would have had that hope for us, they would have written us off.
“Credit to the players again. They work incredibly hard every single day, they take on all the information we try to give them. They’ve brilliant. They have to keep going and keep getting better.
“The atmosphere wasn’t quite the same, everything felt a bit subdued. It’s been a bit like that all week. Not just here, up and down the country everyone’s feeling the same.
“We asked the players to play at a good tempo and start the game fast. We knew Karl [Robinson, Oxford manager] would have his team right up for it like they always are. We wanted to play with good energy and get a first goal early. We didn’t manage that. I think we had eight shots in the first half and didn’t hit the target enough.
“We kept going, and finally got the goal that won us the game. You have to keep believing in the plan and doing the right thing. It does help to have people who can come off the bench when it’s not quite working, who can come on and make that sort of impact.
“We’re watching the game and figuring out what’s happening. Throughout it, we were in control of the game, creating the most chances. Our patterns of play were causing them problems and we were getting in where we wanted to get in, but it wasn’t going in the net.
“We didn’t need to change tactically or do things differently, we just needed some fresh legs on there, it might be their night. Morgan was excellent when he came on, as was Niall, as he has been, he’s playing really well.
“Everyone is – that’s why we’ve got 18 points after eight games.”