EFL

Steven Schumacher hopes Stoke can kick on after win over QPR

By Sports Desk February 14, 2024

Steven Schumacher hopes Stoke’s “important” 1-0 win over fellow strugglers QPR lifts the confidence of his side.

Wouter Burger’s strike before half time was the difference as the Potters ended a four-match losing streak.

The Dutch youngster, who also scored in the reverse fixture, converted the winner with a tap-in from Lewis Baker’s corner.

In the process, Schumacher secured a first home league win as boss and the club’s first at the bet365 Stadium since October.

With victory, Stoke gave themselves daylight from the relegation zone as they moved six points above the dotted line.

“We were all aware of how important the game was,” noted the Potters’ boss.

“It was an important win and a tough game against a team close to us in the league.

“The performance isn’t one that we’ll remember forever and the game wasn’t a classic, but to get that win at home was so important.

“It’s relentless and it’s important that we back it up now and I hope that that result gives the players some confidence.

“It’s not been easy to play here all season and it’s been too long since we’ve won (at home), so hopefully that stigma has gone.

“We’ve played a lot better since I’ve been here than we did tonight but that doesn’t matter; we got the win and the fans go home happy.

“Sometimes, you’ve got to come to a realisation of what’s important at certain stages.

“The results haven’t been what we wanted, so we changed our shape and played more direct and we were harder to beat.

“At this stage of the season and as a coach you’ve got to recognise what’s important and the win was what was all that mattered today.

“But we can’t relax now; it’s only one win and the league is still really tight.”

Meanwhile, the travelling Hoops could only muster one shot on target as their four-match unbeaten run ended.

QPR remain entrenched in the relegation zone as they drift to four points from safety.

“I’m disappointed,” said boss Marti Cifuentes.

“We had some good chances in the first half to take the lead but unfortunately, we went 1-0 down after a corner.

“They played a back-five and they showed respect to us and we couldn’t get the flow we wanted, especially in the second half.

“It was not easy for us to break them down. Still, we tried to compete to the very last second but it was just one of those games.

“Today was a very important game in terms of the table but at the same time, whatever happened today, it wasn’t going to be a season changer.

“We need to stay very calm; we’re of course disappointed and angry, but we were unbeaten for four games and perhaps someone could think this would be easy.

“When I arrived at the club, we were eight points away and the team is showing improvements almost every week.

“I do believe in what we’re doing and I think that the team is showing that we can compete every game.

“My target now is to make sure we get a new trend of good results to pick up the points that we need.

“In less than three months at the club, we’ve had two good trends so I’m sure we can have another one.”

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