Manager Keith Hill says Rochdale’s FA Cup run has given the squad “a lot of encouragement” as all focus now turns to the league.
Dale exited the competition at the fourth round stage on Saturday after a spirited display against Championship side Sheffield Wednesday, and in an honest interview with the club’s official website, Hill admitted that he hadn't expected to lose the tie.
He exclusively told Dale Player: “It’s amazing really that I almost feel as though that I have to apologise for creating so much expectation. It’s as down as I have been after a game for such a long time because I didn’t expect to lose. There’s no disrespect intended to Sheffield Wednesday, but I hadn’t considered losing that game and I think that shows the belief I have in the players.
“I was really, really enjoying the FA Cup and enjoying the way that the players have bounced into every game – the way that we won at Torquay, the way that we bounced back and won at Rotherham, and the magnificent result and the performance against Leeds.
“Going into the game I had total confidence and belief in all the players and I hadn’t prepared myself to lose that game. Wow, it’s as down as I’ve felt. After the game I just wanted to try and forget about football and not get involved in any of the sideshows, but I’ve now come to terms with the fact that we’ve got beat.
“The lads can be proud, the Football Club can be proud, the supporters can be proud of the players and it’s now about bouncing into the next game.”
Hill continued: “Like I said, I’ve got total belief in these players that they can play above League Two standard football. It has been a great cup run from that respect, but I will miss the FA Cup. I honestly believe that it has given us a lot of encouragement as to what we can achieve.”
The full ten minute interview is available on Dale Player.