Steven Schumacher on the ‘shark mindset’ he adopted to secure Plymouth Argyle's promotion to the Championship

Steven Schumacher Plymouth Argyle manager
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Plymouth Argyle manager Steven Schumacher says that he ensured his squad maintained a relentless mindset on the way to the League One title this season. 

Earning an impressive 101 points, Argyle fended off Ipswich Town to first place, with both clubs gaining promotion to the Championship next season. Sheffield Wednesday pushed both sides to the wire, though, the Owls accumulating 96 points themselves and having to settle for the play-offs. 

Schumacher, in the first manager's job of his career, instilled a winning mentality in his players, who were often written off during the course of the campaign.

"It’s important to reflect and see what went well in a game and what didn’t," Schumacher told FourFourTwo. "As coaching staff, we choose what to show the players and what message we want to get across that will help us in the following match. 

"Whenever we had really good results last season – in particular, the two Devon derby games against Exeter where we won 4-2 and 1-0 – we studied them, reviewed them and then moved on very quickly. 

"You don’t have time to dwell on anything. It’s almost like a shark mindset: you’ve got to keep moving forward, thinking that you’re not done."

Indeed, even in difficult moments Schumacher and his Argyle side always managed to bounce back. After a tough 4-0 defeat to Bolton in the Papa John's Trophy final at Wembley in April, Plymouth won seven of their remaining eight league games to secure promotion and ensure that heartbreak didn't manifest into anything further. 

Only 39-years-old, Schumacher once played with Wayne Rooney in the Everton youth team. A promising footballer who captained the England U19 team, Schumacher explains why he didn't make it at Goodison Park. 

"I wasn’t far away," the Argyle manager explained to FFT. "I had one full season in the first team, in David Moyes’ first full season. 

"I trained with them every day but had to go out on loan a couple of times [to Carlisle and then Oldham]. Opportunities were always going to be at a premium because the squad that Moyes inherited from Walter Smith was huge – it was a squad packed full of international players, and in particular international players who played in my position. 

"When Moyes released all of them, I was released as well, aged 20. It was a bit of a shock to leave, but it was probably the best thing to happen to me because I had a decent career in the lower leagues."

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Ryan Dabbs
Staff writer

Ryan is a staff writer for FourFourTwo, joining the team full-time in October 2022. He first joined Future in December 2020, working across FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture's websites, before eventually earning himself a position with FourFourTwo permanently. After graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism and Communications, Ryan earned a NCTJ qualification to further develop as a writer while a Trainee News Writer at Future.