Manager Keith Hill was in a positive mood on Monday morning as he spoke to Dale PlayerHD ahead of Tuesday night’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy second round tie against Chesterfield.
After spending the weekend reflecting on Saturday’s defeat to Bradford City, Hill has made clear that the players will receive full encouragement as they look to reset.
“We’ve just got to remain calm. We’ve got to use all of our skills as a management team to encourage the players,” said Hill.
“What’s happened over the last three games is that we’ve conceded goals because of mistakes. It’s hard because we conceded five goals in eight games and now we’ve conceded eight in three. We’ve analysed the goals and it comes down to basic individual errors.
“It’s difficult managing the players when they’re walking on egg shells and what you can’t do is keep compounding the negative. We know that we’re scoring goals, we know that we’re conceding goals at this moment in time, which is unfamiliar to the structure of the team that we’ve got, but I wouldn’t say any team where we’ve conceded goals have ripped us to shreds - that’s the disappointing thing.
“As manager, I have to accept that players will make individual mistakes. I’ve got to support those players, I’ve got to encourage them that they’re good players and I’ve got to tell them that everything that they’ve done prior to those mistakes has been absolutely superb.
“And again, we’ve got to become better at making less mistakes, especially in the last three games, because prior to that, it has been absolutely superb.
“We’ve just got to reset, the players have got to reset and they’ve got to re-find themselves. They’ve got to assure themselves that they’re good players and they’ve got to be ultra-concentrated when it comes to playing games because confidence is key.
“We’ve all watched the football world and if it can happen to Chelsea then it can happen to Rochdale. There’s a lot of self-doubt in that Chelsea side and we’re talking about the Champions of English football showing self-doubt because they’re making mistakes and individual errors are costing them. There's one similarity between us and Chelsea at this moment in time – we’re a good team that is making individual errors and they are costing us games.”
He continued: “Mentally the players were invincible at what we did and what we do. I think a little bit of that has gone but it only takes a passage of play, or one assured decision to turn it all around. It might be one ugly nil-nil, or a one-nil victory which re-sets everybody.
“We’ve been through times like this before and I have as a Manager, where we’ve lost games and confidence has gone a little bit. It’s probably at 70-percent, rather than 95-percent or 100-percent, and it has taken a rather ugly or a very nervy victory to re-set everybody and give them that less fear in the game.
“It’s important that you use previous experiences to try and reset a team and reset individuals, and that’s what we’re trying to do as a coaching team. We’ve got to back the players and I’m happy with the squad of players that we’ve got. I’m also happy with the progress that we’ve made as a football club and we want that to continue.”
The full interview is on Dale PlayerHD.