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Papa Johns Trophy

'We have to take it on the chin' - Schumacher after Final defeat

2 April 2023

Plymouth Argyle boss Steven Schumacher said his side had to "own" their performance in the 4-0 loss to Bolton Wanderers in the Papa Johns Trophy Final. Here is everything the Argyle boss said in his press conference.

"Devastated. Congratulations are due to Bolton Wanderers, they were the better team and deserved to win the game. After the start of the game, 10 minutes in and 2-0 down, we got punished every mistake.

"Once we go 2-0 down it’s tough. We had the momentum in the first five minutes of the second half. We gave possession away, Kachunga goes right through the middle of us and scores and it’s game over."

Thoughts on a first-half penalty claim?

"It certainly looks like there might have been contact. But it’s by the by, those decisions go against you and you can’t use that as an excuse, we won’t hide behind anything today, we didn’t deserve anything from the game. A Final like this when you’ve got 40,000 of our fans supporting us, we’ve got to take it on the chin and own it.

"We said to the players, no matter what the outcome is today, we should go back to the hotel tonight with our heads held high because it’s a great achievement to get to the Final of this competition. We’re second in the league on goal difference with it all to play for, we said even if we won the game we still needed to have that determined look in our eyes.

"Any other time this season we’ve had a bad result our reaction has been brilliant. Today we just didn’t have enough, we didn’t play well enough.  

What have your learnt?

"Start games better. Decision making. I’ll obviously take responsibility for this.

"We’ve been really strong this season defending set-plays. We worked a lot this week on their combinations down the outsides of the pitch, but I don’t think today they’ve had that much possession – I haven’t seen the stats, I don’t know – but I don’t remember them penning us in our half that often. They just pounced on our mistakes and punished us.

"There were tough decisions to make with the team. People can look at that and say I should have done this or that, but that’s irrelevant, because today we didn’t do the basics right. We gave the ball away from our own throw-ins three times. Regards to the selection, some of it was out of my hands, it was the squad that was available.

"To the fans I’d say thanks for your support. They stood by their team and that’s what good fans do. They understand we didn’t go out there and want to perform like that. The players want to do their best. We’ve made mistakes and got punished for them, so stick by them, support them. We’re going to need to take it on the chin and own it, but be there for us on Friday if you can at Morecambe and definitely on Monday against Lincoln because they can help us get over the line.

On watching Bolton lift the trophy.

"That’s the right thing to do. Sometimes you’ve got to hold your hands up and say you’ve been beaten by the better team and we were.

"We know we’ve got players in our team who can produce moments of quality and if we get one of them and get a goal, at least it’s something for our fans to cling on to. When they score the fourth goal it’s damage limitation, you just want it to end.

"There should be no negativity around our team this season, none whatsoever. We’re playing so well, we’re overperforming if you like.

"It’s my first full season as a manager and days like this are where you learn a lot about yourself and your team. I can take criticism right on the chin, it doesn’t faze me. I’ll carry on doing what I think is the right thing to do. I’ve also had a lot of praise this season, so you have to take the criticism. My first cup final and first full season as a manager and hopefully it won’t be my last."

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