Stoke City Manager Makes Interesting Accusation

Stoke City manager Steven Schumacher believes that referees ‘can’t wait to make decisions against you’ at Elland Road following their 1-0 defeat against Leeds United last night.

The Potters succumbed to their seventh defeat in nine league outings in Yorkshire and had Ben Pearson dismissed late on after picking up two yellow cards. It’s a result which kept the Staffordshire-based side in the bottom three, level on points with Huddersfield Town above them. However, the Terriers can pull away later tonight when they face Cardiff City in South Wales.

A 2-0 win over Middlesbrough at the weekend instilled some optimism into their plight for survival, although a trip to title-chasing Leeds was always going to be a tough ask.

Dan James gave the hosts a first half lead but Stoke more than matched their superior opponents. An inspired Illan Meslier kept Schumacher’s team at bay during a much-improved second half, but their quest to find an equaliser took a huge blow after Pearson received his marching orders with four minutes remaining.

The 29-year-old had only been on the pitch for just over half an hour after he was introduced as a substitute just before the hour mark. The manager was far from happy with the decisions that led to Pearson’s sending off. Speaking after the game, via Leeds Livethe ex-Plymouth Argyle boss said:

“Frustrating. I don’t think he needs to get involved in the first one and then the second one, there’s not a lot in it, but in places like this, the refs can’t wait to make decisions against you. They just can’t wait.

“It was obvious what he was going to do. It’s frustrating because we’re going to miss Ben again, who, when he came on the pitch, had a real big impact on it, was playing really well.”

That said, Schumacher was full of praise for the Elland Road atmosphere whilst tipping the Whites for an immediate return to the Premier League:

“It’s huge, it’s probably right up there with the best atmospheres in the country in all the leagues. It’s brilliant. I love the Leeds fans, it’s class.

“They will get to the Premier League, yes. They’re good enough, they’ve got enough individual talent, they’ve got enough experience and they’ve got a really good manager who knows how to get it done in the pressure moments.”

Stoke will be hoping to make an immediate return to winning ways when they take on a rejuvenated Preston North End at Deepdale on Saturday.

Writer’s View

Schumacher was visibly frustrated after seeing his side lose, although that is understandable with their current situation. The pressure on the manager and his players is increasing on a weekly basis as a drop into League One starts to look more and more likely.

An away trip to Leeds could have been viewed as somewhat of a free hit. It was a game they were never expected to win, and they can take heart that their recent losses have all been by narrow margins. It’s starting to reach a point where they need to pick up wins though, beginning this weekend.

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