Manager Keith Hill says his side has “got to run with it” after a late win over Accrington Stanley on Saturday saw Rochdale retain their place in the automatic promotion spots.
Speaking following the weekend’s victory at Spotland, Hill told the club’s official website that they can’t afford to over think the situation as they head into the last ten games of the season, starting with Northampton Town at Sixfields on Tuesday night.
“It was a strange game but at the end of the day it’s about results and we got the right result,” said Hill as he reacted to his sides win over Stanley.
“I know the impact that this time of the season can have on players, on a manager, on supporters and the opposition. When you look at the opposition that we’re playing, I wouldn’t say it’s a free game, but it’s almost a free hit. We saw it on Tuesday [away at Torquay] when there was no expectation from the home supporters and it almost galvanises the opposition.
“I thought the opposition’s game plan today [Saturday] was superb. I think they’re a very good side, I think they’ve got very good players and I think they’ll be a very good side next season if James Beattie can keep that team together.
“It was very frustrating at times for me. Patience doesn’t mean slow and we were too slow in the first half, that’s why I wanted Josh to kick it. I wanted to put them under a little bit more pressure, and we got the result. The result means everything – it doesn’t matter how we got it and it’s as simple as that.”
He continued: “As it stands we’re in the top three and we’ve got a three point cushion now. At the beginning of the season I said top seven, but me being realistic I was expecting top ten. We’ve probably over achieved that objective, so we’ve got to run with it. We can’t put any intensity on the players, for me we’ve exceeded all expectations, so run with it.
“I’ve got to prepare the players accordingly and I’ve got to come up with a winning formula with the players that I have available every single Saturday/Tuesday. It’s going to change with injuries and suspensions so I have to keep coming up with different winning formulas with the players that I’ve got and we’ve got to do that within the next ten games.
"I can’t envisage any disappointment from what we’ve already achieved this season when you look at the way the players are performing both individually and collectively. Saturday was our 19th win of the season, so we’ve got a win ratio of more than 50%, and that’s in all competitions. Let’s hope that it stays the norm."
Hill added: "It’s like a cricketer when he gets into 90s. He’s done unbelievable to get into 90s/99 and how many times do we see cricketers out in the 90s. There’s only one reason for that, and that’s the mental pressure they put themselves under because they start over thinking the situation and what might be. We can’t afford to do that and we shouldn’t be doing that. The journey is absolutely superb but we can’t look too keenly at the possible destinations because it can often lead to so much disappointment. For me it’s about playing happy, playing free, and not putting ourselves under too much pressure because I believe that we’re in the 90s if I was batsman. It’s important that we get to the 100 runs and if we do, then I think there will be 150 runs, or maybe close to 170 runs on the board for us.”