What Steven Schumacher said about Tyrese Campbell and how Stoke City booked survival

Tyrese Campbell salutes the Stoke City supporters after sealing a 1-0 win over Southampton.
Tyrese Campbell salutes the Stoke City supporters after sealing a 1-0 win over Southampton. -Credit:Alex Burstow/Getty Images

Stoke City are safe in the Championship thanks to a 1-0 win over Southampton to back up the form they have shown in the last few weeks under Steven Schumacher. Here are the talking points from the St Mary’s Stadium.

Stoke City survive

This season won’t be remembered fondly in the history books but the eight days that took in wins over Plymouth and Southampton, and indeed pretty much the whole run since the last international break in March, will be noted for pulling out what was required in the circumstances. Since March it has all been about survival.

The squad has been galvanised to pick out three wins and three draws from seven games to secure their status. Staff and supporters must feel like they’ve kicked every ball too so no wonder players dropped to the floor en masse at the full-time whistle in Southampton.

They have pulled two wins, two clean sheets, six points out of the bag when they really needed it. Well done. Now everyone can catch their breath, get a night’s sleep, catch their breath again and use this as a springboard for a much brighter future.

POST-MATCH VERDICTS: Reaction as Stoke City beat Southampton

Tyrese Campbell comes to the fore

It’s been a stop-start season for Campbell - and who knows what’s going to happen next - but he has been tasked with leading the line for the last three matches and he’s got better with each one. This was a well-taken goal, leaving his old pal Taylor Harwood-Bellis behind to score the goal that kept Stoke up.

Schumacher said: “He's like all players, you need a run of games, a consistent run, because it gives you confidence and it gives you fitness. His goal is outstanding.

“The games that we've played late, against good teams who play football, that sort of suits Tyrese because when they come out and attack you, there’s space to run behind and counter attack down the sides, which is what he's good at.

“So the goal was really well taken and I'm pleased for him. It hasn't actually been easy for him - it hasn't been easy for any of the players this year - and that's only his second goal. He did well.”

Two clean sheets in a row to get job done

Stoke have found an intensity as a unit in these two wins. The back four has defended well but they, in turn, will point to the work done by the fellas in front of them.

Schumacher said: “I’m really pleased for them all. It wasn't just the defenders and goalkeeper, that’s a whole team effort. You got midfield players closing their goalkeeper down in their six yard box and almost scoring, blocking it and it going out for a goal-kick. That’s as important as putting in a block tackle in in your own penalty box because it just stops their momentum and gives us a chance to get up to be shown.

“It was a really good display defensively from the whole team.”

Stoke might have even had more

The nerves might have been settled sooner if Million Manhoef, Josh Laurent or Niall Ennis had buried moments that came there way but it was promising for Stoke to get into those kind of positions and create that level of chances.

“I've just looked at some of the numbers and we've had more shots than Southampton, we've had more attempts on target,” said Schumacher. “Now I don't know how many teams, if any, have done that this season.

“So we have shown the attacking intent in the way we play was good, but in the last bit it wasn't. We should have scored more than one goal. I think it was a penalty as well but thankfully we only needed one goal.”

A strong run in the final straight

It turned out that slipping into the relegation zone at Cardiff in late February, that felt like the end of the world, was a real turning point. It’s 18 points from 11 matches since then and it’s three wins and three draws from the seven matches following the last international break.

Schumacher said: “It is and it’s shown how strong the teams have been down at the bottom because it’s so difficult to pull clear. Everyone has been getting big results.

“It's been a whole team effort. Now I know that everybody doesn't want to be in this situation, we didn't want to be down in the bottom half of the division, but it was really important that we didn’t sulk about it.

“We spoke after a poor run of games about where we felt we could get better and in the end I’ve grown in confidence each game. Today we played like a team we want to look like, to recognise.

“That gives us confidence that if we get it right, get the build right in the summer with the players that we need, then next year we will have a much better year.”

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