'Huge part' - Steven Schumacher says Preston North End factor influenced Stoke City game plan

Stoke City manager Steven Schumacher Stoke City manager Steven Schumacher
Stoke City manager Steven Schumacher | CameraSport - Rich Linley
The Stoke City got one over on his best mate - PNE boss, Ryan Lowe

Preston North End's home pitch played a factor in Stoke City's game plan at Deepdale - where the Potters ran out 1-2 winners on Saturday.

The Lilywhites saw their push for a play-off spot stall, as Luke McNally netted an 87th minute winner in Lancashire. PNE substitute Milutin Osmajic had equalised, four minutes after Andrew Hughes' second half own goal - which had fired Stoke ahead.

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North End left empty handed though, on a day when manager Ryan Lowe - a good friend of Schumacher's - bemoaned the 'Sunday league' goals shipped by his side. Lowe also credited the way in which Stoke stifled PNE though - with Schumacher changing to a wing-back system.

"All three points are satisfying, these ones in particular because it was the type of game I'm not used to ever playing, not the style,” said Schumacher. "But I felt it was necessary to match Preston up, because physically they're so strong and the pitch plays a huge part - it's a difficult pitch to play football on. So, it had to be a battle. It wasn't pretty on the eye but it was a real good Championship battle and it gives us three points."

Schumacher added: "It's also a realisation from myself. What are we really good at? We're a physical type of team and actually the defensive record before I came was quite good, but we didn't create or score enough goals. That's the problem. We tried to address that and we did create a load of chances in the first few games - we were a bit more free-flowing but then results went against us and confidence dipped.

“So I've got back to what Stoke are good at. It's being physical and committed. Having someone like Josh Laurent back in the team allows you to play that way and having that physicality you may as well use it. He's a really good player. The last three games have looked like a team willing to fight and that's what we're going to need. We've got nine games to go now and more times to stand up and be counted."

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