Manager Keith Hill has been reflecting on the week as his side get ready to face Dagenham and Redbridge at Victoria Road this Saturday.
In his latest Dale Player interview, Hill was keen to stress that he is very much keeping his feet on the ground despite Rochdale currently sitting two points clear at the top of the Sky Bet League Two table, and explained the importance of the Team Rochdale mentality.
He said: "I don't want what we're trying to build destroyed, destroyed by building us up and giving us the plaudits and the credit. Okay we do deserve the credit, we do deserve the plaudits for what we've established at the Football Club since our work started last January, but I don't like to see external influences then trying to pull us to pieces. I want us to keep a siege mentality. We are Team Rochdale which includes every facet of the Football Club, every supporters who wears a Rochdale shirt and every supporter who walks the land. I just want to protect the players, I think there should be a massive arm around the whole Football Club with respect to protecting what we're trying to achieve on the football pitch against opposition that we might walk into because there is opposition in every walk of life."
He continued: “I think our home form has been absolutely superb and that’s why I have called for extra support while we’re winning football matches,” said Hill.
“I look at other teams, not just within our league, where there’s a confidence crisis. Football is a simple game but it can be played in many ways and I believe the way we’re trying to play is the correct way. We’re playing the patient way where we’re retaining and passing the ball, but you can play simplistic percentage football which is the easiest form of caveman football style that you can muster. There’s a limited time of success but you can be very successful with it.
“What I’m asking for is my players to be brave. We’re still educating them, they’re still learning, they’re developing and they need the assurances from the supporters. The supporters have got to buy into what we’re doing, they’ve got to buy into what we’re trying to achieve in the same way that they did when we were first achieving our success.
“We are by no means anywhere near what I believe to be the end product. It will happen over a matter of days, weeks, months and years, but I am really pleased with the progress that everybody has made.
“Our home form has been absolutely magnificent and I think we witnessed the other night team tactics from a wily character in Aidy Boothroyd and his team, and I think those tactics might be a sign of things to come. But did we get there? Of course we did. Was it an education for our players? Yes. And it should also be an education for our supporters to be a little bit patient because a game lasts 90 minutes plus.”
Dale head to Victoria Road this Saturday to face Dagenham and Redbridge and Hill says they’re all looking forward to the game.
“It has been a difficult week – the weather has changed and the pitches are getting a little bit damper. When you look at what we’ve had to deal with against Cheltenham and against Northampton I think the lads have been a little bit brain weary as well as leg weary. We’ve had some good recovery days, we’re going to go down to Dagenham today [Friday] to train and we’re looking forward to the game. The players will be fresh and I’ve also got the option of freshening it up because I believe we’ve got up to 20 players who can all come in.”
You can view the full interview with Manager Keith Hill on Dale Player.