Manager Keith Hill has given an honest assessment of Dale’s 1-0 defeat to Burton Albion...
He told Dale Player HD: “There was a sticky pitch. I’m led to believe the grounds man said that the opposition manager didn’t want the pitch watering - one of the reasons is probably because of the way we play.
“It was a very frustrating day, but listen, the last time we lost 1-0 here we got promoted.
“I think the opposition were better than us in the first half, with respect to their honesty and their commitment, but in the second half I think they’d settled for a 1-0.
“I think maybe it could have gone to 2-0 or 3-0 at times on the counter attack, but I thought we showed a lack of intelligence with our thirst for an equalising goal and it was too obvious.
“I expect a little bit more intelligence from that group of players. Sometimes when you’re desperate, you do desperate things and they’re not true to your character or a reflection of the team, and I think we’ve become a little bit desperate.
“We probably walked further away from our identity in the second half than we have done for a long time.”
Dale conceded from a free-kick, with Shane Cansdell-Sheriff claiming the goal. There was, however, claims it may have come off Joe Rafferty. This is how the Gaffer saw it.
“I’m slightly disappointed [conceding from a set-play], but I think it was a marvellous ball in.
“I think [Stuart] Beavon runs across the line of the screener and it’s not a clean finish - we should of dealt with the first phase of that better.
“For Joe Rafferty to get booked for the actual challenge is a bit of on an insult in itself. All these games are marginal. We should deal with the first phase, the set play and the screener better, and arguable Joe Rafferty, but he tells me he has a push in the back.
“I’ve had a look at it and I’ve got no complaints. I couldn’t argue that it’s a push in the back - it’s more like a love tap and Joe Raff should be a bit more responsible, but it’s not solely down to Joe Raff. It’s the responsibility to defend that free kick.
“It was a tight game. I think we were to lethargic in possession, but I would say that is a little bit down to the pitch. If I was Jimmy [Floyd-Hasselbaink] I would tell his grounds man to keep a few more secrets.”
Lewis Alessndra and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing were both handed league debuts for Rochdale, as they made an appearance as second half substitutes.
Hill commented: It’s difficult under these situations because we were chasing the game. We’re throwing them on and we’re trying to come up with a formulation to try and effect the opposition - I would say that it didn’t work.
“I’ve seen encouragement from both those players in training and on Wednesday night [against Manchester United], but you know, arguably in a game that we should have controlled we decided to go direct. It’s difficult to get your messages on, but like I said, when your desperate you do desperate things.
"It was the obvious choice for our players to go through Calvin Andrew, but it was also the easiest choice and it was the easiest one to defend for the opposition."
The full interview is available to view on DalePlayerHD.