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Keith Hill's Pre-Match Interview - Sheffield United

26 February 2016


Keith Hill's Pre-Match Interview - Sheffield United

26 February 2016

Manager Keith Hill admits that Tuesday night’s victory over Fleetwood Town was a “big win” for his side.

The 1-0 victory saw Rochdale steer nine points clear of the relegation zone with 14 games left to play.

Speaking on Friday morning, he told Dale PlayerHD that he believes Dale are in a good position to attack the final 14 games of the campaign.

“If you over analyse it [the league table] and bring too much fear to it, it can psychologically trip you up.

“We’re always trying to look forward and we’re always trying to look above, but you’ve got to be mindful that at any given time you’re involved in a relegation battle.

“To sum it up, we never take our eye off that, regardless of whether we’re in the top four or we’re hovering just above the bottom four. 

“But [Tuesday night] was a big win.

“It was a big win for us and big loss for Fleetwood. You could tell that after the game. Who knows what it’s going to do for us psychologically, but I’m really pleased that we got the points.

“And I’m glad we’re hovering around 10 points above the number of games played on a regular basis throughout the course of the season.

“If I look back on last season, we had actually lost more games at this point last season than we have done this season. It’s fine margins - turning narrow losses into draws and turning draws into victories.

“We’re pleased with the progress that we’re making but we’ve got to make sure that we attack the remaining 14 games, with not only ambition and enthusiasm, but also intelligence.”

He continued: “I think we’re in a good position to attack the last 14 games, and why not. We’ve got a good squad of players and we’re searching for that consistency – a consistency of results as well as performance. Hopefully it can come over the next 14 games, and it’s certainly our plan to. 

“Football time is very quick.

“The games lead into games, which lead into games and then lead into games, and before you know it, as soon as you go into the New Year, your season is virtually over with respect to time.

“The season is over in the blink of an eye and in the click of the finger, so you’ve got to make the most of every opportunity. Opportunity in football is game time.”

Rochdale head into Saturday’s League One encounter against Sheffield United unbeaten in their last three outings, after recording two draws and a win in the space of eight days.

Hill is pleased with the points gained from the tricky fixtures against Crewe Alexandra, Bradford City and Fleetwood Town during that period. 

“It’s important that you get points. If you can’t win it, don’t lose it.

“You could argue that we could have got more points from the three games and you could argue that we could have got less, but the win on Tuesday supports the two draws that we had. 

“I thought we started the game magnificently against Crewe and for 20 minutes we lost our way but we regained our composure in the game and we got a point.

“At Bradford, I thought we were excellent and thought we probably deserved a little bit more than the point that we got. 

“And then the other night, I thought we controlled the majority of the game without having the possession. That was pleasing because it was a different way of winning against a team that keep the ball. I thought 
we scored a good goal and we had other opportunities. There were times when I wasn’t best pleased with some of the decision making but it can’t always be ideal.

“We did get the ideal result, though.”

Sheffield United are the visitors to Spotland this Saturday and Hill has given his thoughts on the opposition. 

“It’s a difficult one to put your finger on and understand how they haven’t been promoted back to the Championship with the resources, the size of the club, the fan base and the player ability that they’ve got, and obviously the manager’s credentials. 

“They’ve had good managers and they’ve currently got a good manager, so I think it’s just a question of time, whether it’s this season, next season or the season afterwards.

“They really do belong in at least the Championship and probably the Premier League because of the size of the club and the stature that they’ve got within the footballing pyramid.

“Who knows why they haven’t achieved it already, but we certainly won’t be giving them a helping hand on Saturday.”

Hill says there will be changes for this weekend’s game against the Blades.

“The players have had good rest so I’m expecting similar sort of energy this weekend against Sheffield United.

“We’ve made one or two changes for all of the games and we’ll continue to do that. I think it’s important to come up with a specific game plan for the opposition. I don’t think any team is good enough in this league to just say ‘well, we’re better than the rest no matter what we do’. 

“I think there’s a call for playing specific players and formations against oppositions. We’ve looked at Sheffield United and that’s what we’re doing this weekend.”

Meanwhile, Hill has confirmed that Donal McDermott is back in training after recovering from his stomach complaint. 

The full interview is on Dale PlayerHD. 

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