Clayton Wood reports as Stoke City prepares for a Championship midweek encounter against relegation rivals Queens Park Rangers.
Stoke City players held a “honest” team meeting to address their recent drop in form ahead of a crucial Championship match against relegation rivals Queens Park Rangers, with Steven Schumacher ensuring it was productive rather than heated.
Stoke play QPR at the bet365 Stadium (Wednesday, 7.45pm), having slid to fifth from bottom, only three points clear of their third-bottom opponents, who have a two-goal differential, with 15 games remaining this season. Schumacher had never lost three matches as a manager, let alone four, and he wants to keep a united front in the changing room to try to haul the
Move the club away from danger.
He stated, “Nobody wants to be in this position. When we assessed the Blackburn game on Monday, we were open and honest, and it is also crucial that everyone accepts responsibility, including myself, since we all want the same thing. Nobody likes to be in a relegation battle, or to lose consecutive games. We want to try to get the home form perfect, so how should we proceed? The attitude has been as expected. We have players in there who want to succeed.
He went on to say, “When you explain what we’ve all agreed on, what are the non-negotiables, what we expect from the team, and then you put it on the screen and you don’t see a few of those things, there’s no hiding place.” You do not come in here to dig people out; I am here to help. This is what a good coach should do. ‘Doing these things will increase our team’s chances of winning.’
“That’s the way it is. It is not a slanging match, and it will not be, because the players need to know I care about them, which I do.”
Schumacher agrees that “the rhythm Stoke have been in” can make it feel like everything is against them – therefore it is critical for mood and league table to break that cycle and find a way out of this rut as soon as possible.
He stated, “It is extremely crucial. It’s frustrating. We all understand. Nobody likes to be in this situation, and the easiest way to get out of it and change the atmosphere is to win a game.
“A couple of weeks ago, everyone was so optimistic; everyone was saying that since we’d arrived, the style of football had changed, and it was better to watch. We won a couple of games, had some good results, and were seven games unbeaten. We cannot lose sight of this. We’ve lost a few games in a row, but it’s not the end of the world, the season isn’t over, and we need to go on to the next game.”