Manager Keith Hill has spoken openly and honestly about Dale’s remaining 18 games of the season, while reflecting on last weekend’s defeat to Crewe Alexandra.
“Matchday is really important. It can reflect what you’ve done in training but prior to last weekend’s matchday fixture, our training was excellent. It was absolutely superb and I was going into the game full of confidence.
“The second half performance was the impact I wanted to make during the course of the whole game, but no team can legislate for the mistakes that we make.
“I respect Crewe, I respect the efforts to win the game against us but there was a massive self-implosion during the first half. That has got to stop or we’ll never really get started. And that’s what’s disappointing – we keep having to go back to square one.
“It’s frustrating, but it’s something I have to manage and I have to manage this group of players. I believe that they are good enough. I believe that we can still have an encouraging end to the season and there are 18 games still left to play. For me, they are all cup finals against good opposition.
“Our intentions when we got promoted was to play in games and to manage through these sequences that are thrust upon as at this moment in time - the inconsistencies individually and the inconsistencies of the team as well. And not just the team, the squad of players and probably the coaching staff to a certain degree as well.
“It has been an inconsistent season and it has been difficult for me to select because hindsight is a wonderful thing. There are times when you think you should probably have changed it, and probably with reflection and digesting what’s happened, I think we should be changing it a little bit more than we are doing.
“But I’m looking for that consistency and we’re looking for that trigger that will give the players and the squad that lift that we need going into the remaining fixtures that we’ve got.
“It’s difficult because when you try and contemplate it and look for solutions, it can have a heavy presence mentally. But we’re looking for players to free themselves of that burden and just perform on a regular basis.
"I don’t think it has anything to do with talent or ability, I think there has been a little bit of complacency and it’s a difficult one to shift.
“There are only so many public hangings you can make as a manager to stimulate that complacency and stop it at source.
“It seems to follow that every time we get a magnificent win, we seem to get a little bit of complacency and that’s something I have to get rid of.”
He continued: “I don’t know what normal is at Rochdale Football Club. Normal, as a player for me at Rochdale Football Club, was finishing 15th or 16th in League Two. As a manager, I’ve not experienced any normality. Normality has become accustomed to massively overachieving, getting promotion and getting the highest placed finishes.
“I’m struggling myself because we’re not achieving those exploits this season and I don’t like it, I must admit.
“I’m spending more time trying to put things right instead of retaining what’s been done and what is being done.
“The spirit of the team has always reflected the way that Leicester are playing at this moment in time – playing for the badge of the football club.
“That looks as though it’s missing but I don’t think it’s missing. I just think it has been misplaced.
“I think I’ll become a much, much, much better manager for Rochdale Football Club after this season because I want to know what normal is, normal for this football club under Keith Hill in League One.
“It’s something I have to grasp, it’s something I have to find a solution to and hopefully we’ll all come out winners.
“I do believe that the 18 games represent an unbelievable positive challenge for us and it’s something we’re really looking forward to.
“We’ve got to treat every game as a fight. First and foremost it has got to be bare knuckles, then let’s see who has got the dancing feet and the quick hands.”
The full interview is on Dale PlayerHD.