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A pleasing start: New boss Steven Schumacher takes positives from Stoke’s draw

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 23 Dec 2023

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New boss Steven Schumacher expressed his satisfaction despite his Stoke career beginning with a goalless draw at home to Millwall.

Following his move in midweek, the former Plymouth boss failed to secure a dream start to life in the Potteries.

Although they dominated throughout, the home side struggled to capitalise as they slipped to a ninth game without victory.

Ryan Mmaee was thwarted by former Potters’ goalkeeper Matija Sarkic and then Wes Harding in the biggest chances of the tie.

And the visiting Lions nearly punished the hosts’ wastefulness deep into stoppage time, but Stoke keeper Jack Bonham denied Aidomo Emakhu.

“There were lots of positive signs today and it’s a pleasing start,” said Schumacher.

“Jack [Bonham] got us out of trouble at the end and Luke [McNally] owes him a pint!

“That was Millwall’s only shot on goal and if that would have gone in, it would have broke all of our hearts.

“We didn’t lose the game which is important for us at this stage, so it’s a pleasing afternoon and there’s positive signs.

“The players played with more energy and the fans responded. We had that momentum and it was one-way traffic in that second half.

“We lost our rhythm towards the end but that’s to be expected with a brand-new message and management team.

“The players gave us everything today and I’m really appreciative of that. As long as we all stick together and stay on the same page, then our results will definitely turn around if we put in performances like that.

“It was a good day’s work, not perfect, but it’s one point, a step in the right direction and something to build on.”

Millwall saw their winless run extended to seven games and manager Joe Edwards admitted he still has a lot of work to do having taken charge last month.

“It was a solid performance for us,” said Edwards, whose last victory came in his opening game on November 11.

“We want to win every game, but you’ve got to respect where we’ve been as a team and we’ve been having a tough time.

“In recent weeks our performances haven’t been great and there’s been several different areas that we’ve had to address on the training pitch.

“We’ve lost too many games of late and it’s been about stopping leaking chances and goals as easily as we have.

“We’ve been going away with a lack of points because we haven’t been defending our box well enough. And when we’re in their half, we want to ask more questions and we need time to keep adding that bit.

“That final bit hasn’t been there for the past few weeks and it wasn’t there today, and that’s the final piece that we need to come together.

“We had a moment at the end where we rolled the dice but, all in all, I don’t think a draw is an unfair result for either team.”

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