Rochdale were unable to mark their final away game of the season with a win as they went down 3-0 at Oxford United’s Kassam Stadium on Saturday.
Second half goals from Andy Whing, James Constable and Alfie Potter brought an end to Dale’s six game unbeaten run.
While Manager Keith Hill is disappointed with the result and the performance, he is keen not to let the game reflect negatively on the hard-work achieved over the last month.
“There have been lessons learned today, 100%,” said Hill. “We’ve been good and we can’t take away what the lads have achieved over the three or four weeks and the way that they’ve played, but today was a shadow of what I expect from them both with and without the ball. The opposition put us under pressure, they turned us as much as they could on the pitch and I can understand that, but we were lack lustre.
“I don’t want to be too critical on the players because we’ve covered a lot of ground in such a short space of time and I’m encouraged by that, but today it was evident that we resorted back to a type and when you do that in a team game you get beaten.”
He continued: “Without being overcritical they’ve let themselves down and the supporters down, but I’m encouraged going into next season with a squad of players that I know will be competitive week in and week out, and the players who are out of contract that I decide to retain will know exactly what it is I expect, and they do anyway. We’ve made one or two uncharacteristic mistakes but it might have resorting back to a type and we have got to quash that.”
248 Dale fans made the trip to the Kassam Stadium for the weekend’s encounter and Hill gave a special word of thanks to them: “The fans were brilliant today, they were superb. We’ll give them good reward next season, don’t worry about that.”
Plymouth Arygle are the visitors to Spotland this Saturday in the final game of the season and Hill is keen to go out with a victory: “For me there’s no end of season games, they’re games and they mean something. They mean something to me.
“I understand how players react and what these games mean, or don’t mean, having been a player myself, but they’ve never been a Manager. It goes on my record, not theirs. It is in coincidental to them but to me it is not, it means a lot. I came here with the intention of only losing four games out of 18 and we were on track until today because that’s the fifth.”
Due to a technical issue we have been unable to upload the weekend's post-match interview onto Dale Player.