Goals from substitutes Peter Vincenti and Grant Holt sealed the deserved victory.
Man of the Match Josh Lillis kept Dale in the game early on with a couple of fine saves, before Rochdale dominated the second half. Vincenti curled home from the edge of the area midway through the second period, before Holt turned home a Michael Rose corner nine minutes from time.
“I thought we made some very good decisions today,” said Hill. I thought our ‘keeper was in top form.
“I thought it was a very good game of football and very competitive.
“They came at us early doors and we weathered that storm. I thought we defended exceptionally well.
“I personally believe my set-up wasn’t right for the opposition. I thought it was and we had done a lot of work on it but we didn’t get what we wanted out of the first half from an attacking intent and from an attacking point of view so I made the substitutions.
“Matchday is all about winning. That’s what I wanted to do so I make no apologies for that and it looks as though it worked.
“I got what I wanted from the attacking trio and I got the midfield players supporting because we were being retained higher up the pitch. We looked very comfortable during large parts of the second half.
“I knew what I needed to do to change it to give us an attacking momentum and intent, and I was reasonably content defensively. I think Billy Sharp is an exceptional player but I thought we dealt with it well.
“Our attacking intent in the second half was there for everyone to see and I’m really pleased we’ve won the game.”
It was Vincenti’s first goal since October, while Holt netted for the first time since returning to Dale just over a week ago.
Hill was pleased for the duo.
“Peter has done superb and Grant Holt has as well.
"With Vinnie [Peter Vincenti], it’s very difficult at times because there’s such an expectation when he’s on the pitch because of the standards that he’s set. Sometimes there’s an inconsistency but as long as you work hard you’ll come good again because that talent is permanent with respect to Peter. I think he’s worked out it well and he’s done exceptionally well today.
“With Grant [bringing a former player back to the club], it doesn’t always work out. It’s like going out with an ex-girlfriend - it’s never quite the same, but Holty has come in and done exceptionally well in training and he has done well in the games when he’s come on.
“I spoke to him at half-time and said ‘listen, with respect to your energy I’m expecting you to go on there and give me everything you’ve got. I might sub-sub you going into the last 10 minutes of the game. He said you’re not doing that. I said, well give me everything you’ve got for as long as you possibly can’.
“He has gone out there and his game management is wow.”
The full interview is on Dale PlayerHD.