Steven Schumacher

Schumacher's Peterborough Reaction

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At a scorching Home Park, not a single Argyle player was off the boil as The Pilgrims saw off a Peterborough United side who came to Devon in red-hot form.

Posh had won their two opening Sky Bet League One fixtures, scoring six goals into the bargain – not to mention a midweek win over Argyle in the Carabao Cup – to kick off their season in ideal fashion following their relegation last season.

However, Argyle shone in the Home Park sunshine, and after the game simmered nicely in the early exchanges, led at half-time after a goal from Finn Azaz.

Peterborough made four changes at the interval – which gives you an indication of how manager Grant McCann felt about the first period – and after that Posh seemed to come back into the game, but Argyle boss Steven Schumacher soon made a switch of his own.

Niall Ennis replaced Danny Mayor just before the hour mark, with Argyle reverting to 3-5-2 from the 3-4-3 they have employed so far this season. The change worked the oracle. Ennis helped an increasingly isolated Ryan Hardie to work Peterborough’s backline, and from a series of doggedly-won corners, Argyle got a penalty when Bali Mumba was brought down.

Hardie scored from the spot, and The Greens worked hard to maintain that 2-0 margin and inflict the first defeat on Posh this season.

“I’m buzzing with the three points,” said Schumacher, speaking after the game to Argyle TV. “It was a big win for us. We had a bad result last weekend away at Fleetwood, so it was important that we tried to stick some points on the board today against a very, very good Peterborough team.

“I thought our performance was excellent from the first whistle to the end. We fully deserved the win.

“The most important thing was that we got our tempo and our aggressiveness right when we didn’t have the ball. We increased our tempo, in this incredible heat, the players put in an incredible work rate in to sustain that pressure. They fully deserve the credit they are going to get.

“[The first goal] was a good move. We managed to convert the chance that was a brilliant opportunity. We didn’t do that the other night.

“I thought we could have been more than one up at half-time. It’s important we are clinical. In big games, against big teams, it’s about small margins.

“I’m sure Grant wasn’t happy with their first-half performance, that’s why he made four subs. We expected them to come at us. They changed their shape, which we had to have a little look at, and figure out what we were going to do about it.

“We decided to bring Niall on and go to 3-5-2 because they had a back four and we could go man for man. It gave us someone to get hold of the ball and get us up the pitch.

“We spoke about it in the off season, we had to have that adaption where if it isn’t going for us. Thankfully the players have taken on board both systems.”

Azaz and Hardie now have two goals each this season, from three league games. Schumacher is content that two attacking players are off the mark so soon, but has his eye on more players contributing.

He said: “Finn keeps putting himself in good position. He gets in positions and has shots on goal in every game.

“Ryan’s goals have been penalties, but that’s taken some bottle, because we all know what happened last season for him. He’s stepped up and dispatched them clinically.

“It’s important that we get goals from elsewhere in the team. Other people need to chip in, not just them two.”

Argyle are quickly back in action, away to Charlton Athletic on Tuesday, and after exertions in the heat, the manager is confident his squad are physically coping well with the toil.

“It’s been a test, because it isn’t normally this hot. The effort and work rate that the starting 11 put in, and the subs who came on and made an impact, helped us in the game. It’s important we use the squad, because it’s a long season with no easy games. We’ll have a look at things over the next couple of days, and try to back up this result with another one, against another very strong team.”

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