Manager Keith Hill has been reflecting on Tuesday night’s defeat to Walsall, as well as looking forward to Saturday's match v Peterborough United, in his latest Dale Player interview.
Three quick fire goals from the Saddlers saw Dale trailing at the interval, but a spirited second half comeback from Hill’s side saw them net twice and run the home-side close, despite being unable to find a third to secure a point.
Hill is pleased with the character shown after the break, but believes lessons can be learned from Tuesday night.
He told Dale Player: “Everything the opposition touched in the first 20 minutes turned to gold and it was arguably game over.
“We’ve picked up some magnificent results away from home but there was a lot of danger in the opposition in the way that they play. We should have dealt with that a little bit better but everything they did went according to plan and there was a little fortune in it – ricochets and the third goal was actually a shot which ends up at the feet of another striker – but they were playing well.
“After that we arrested it a little bit and we tried to salvage something from the game. I’m always upset and disappointed when we lose and arguably we didn’t give ourselves a chance of winning the game. It was marginal as to whether or not we were going to get a point out of it, but we didn’t quite do enough. The lads were down, but not too down because they have a massive ambition for the football club and they saw losing the other night as a real disappointment.
“One thing that does stand out is that we’re scoring a lot of goals – we have done all season and we’ve got to continue in that vein.
“We have to erase the team mistakes defensively, and that’s what they are. We’re not a million miles away from being a real difficult opposition for anyone in this league. We’re very close, but having said that, since the turn of the 23 games we’re on point where we should be.
“We had a meeting after the 23rd game [to discuss] what we want for the next 23 games and we’re right on point.
"I’ve got to look at it clinically, or clean if you like, and say right, we’re on point, and you have to learn from what happened the other night.
“We also know, though, that we’re a very good side, we score goals and we create opportunities. We’ve got to continue that but we’ve got to smarten up defensively a little bit.”
Rochdale travel to Peterborough United this weekend, the team that Dale faced on the opening day of the season.
Hill believes the team has taking big strides forward in terms of learning and developing since that game.
“You have to [learn and develop] otherwise you digress," said Hill.
“It feels like a million years ago that game, but were really encouraged by the performance against Peterborough last time. It was very marginal, but this league is. The higher up you go the air is thinner and you get punished for the mini mistakes that you make.
“We want to pit our wits against arguably better opposition and that’s what we have been doing all season.”
He continued: "We don’t look at the table – we look at points. We try and stick to our task and our task is the challenges that we’ve given the players. We’re on point for that, so I really don’t take league position into consideration. I take statistical points per game with respect to where we are actually at. The games played for the number of points that we’ve got is a real indication of how well we’re doing, so that’s what we’ll stick to.
“And it doesn’t matter who we are playing against, we feel as though we’ve got a great value to get as many points as we possibly can.
"If we remain on track with the points per game that I’m expecting then we’ll be fine. If we don’t, then we might have to jig things around a little bit.”
The full interview is available on Dale Player.