Manager Keith Hill spoke to Dale PlayerHD following his side’s brilliant 3-0 win over Walsall…
“I think it was an unbelievable performance from ourselves,” said Hill.
"I don’t think it was due to Walsall not being on form or complacent. They’re an excellent side but I just think that we were absolutely superb in our game plan and our execution of that game plan. I’m really pleased for the players because they worked exceptionally hard.
“Sometimes you get a feeling on the training pitch when you look in the players’ eyes and I’ve had that feeling this week. I’ve had that feeling probably since the preparation for the Crewe game [on Boxing Day].
“I think it was a stand out performance, both individually and collectively. We absolutely dominated the League One leaders. The players, the supporters, the Chairman and the Board of Directors, and me and the staff should be exceptionally proud.
“Walsall are a very good side and they manipulate the ball well. I think they’ve got excellent players and I like watching them, but like I said, we had a game plan.
“We had opportunities, probably less possession than the opposition at times, but we had great opportunities. I’m not bemoaning the score-line, I think it’s a great score-line, but it could quite easily have been five.
“I’ve got to compliment the players for executing the game plan and for the way that they did things. I’m really pleased and I’m not shocked because I know we’re capable of doing this. I think I’ve got a very good squad of players - some of the players are quite young but hopefully this is the sign of things to come.”
Rochdale were rampant from start to finish, with the players showing great energy both on and off the ball. With Hill’s injury woes easing following the return of Jamie Allen, Reuben Noble-Lazarus and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing to the squad, Hill hopes that type of energy can be maintained.
“Let’s hope we can maintain it - I think we can but it’s a question for the players and the squad of players.
“We’ve got player coming back now from injury, with Jamie Allen, Reuben Noble-Lazarus, Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and Rhys Bennett on the bench. We’ve also got Joe Rafferty.
“We’ve got a good squad and there’s a little bit of pressure now from the substitutes bench and the players who aren’t playing. That, for me, creates a great competition for places.
“It is competitive and it has to be competitive on the training pitch. It manifests in obviously trying to keep your shirt, which is brilliant.”
The full interview is on Dale PlayerHD.