Manager Keith Hill reflects on his side’s opening day defeat to Portsmouth at Fratton Park…
Ten-man Dale battled bravely throughout the match but were beaten 2-0 by Pompey, with Brett Pitman netting a second half brace.
Keith Keane was dismissed just 21 minutes into the game, after being adjudged to have brought down Conor Chaplin as a last man.
“I was really happy with the start, with the way that we applied ourselves and the way we took control of the game” Hill told iFollow.
“The game was handed over to the opposition, with respect to securing the ball, with Keith Keane’s sending off. It was the right decision from the referee and the wrong decision by Keith Keane.
“It puts us in a dilemma and my next pit-stop is to get to half-time with a clean sheet, which we did, and then we thought brilliant, we can grow even more.
“We then concede a sloppy goal [at the start of the second half] and it shouldn’t happen. But I thought we responded superbly with the substitutions – it brought us energy and opportunities.”
He continued: “It’s a results business, and I’ve said that to the players. I’ve told them that they’ve got to do everything possible to win, and the manner in which we conceded the two goals is poor. We can’t give [Brett] Pitman, who’s a superb player, those type of opportunities, and that’s what we’ve done. I wouldn’t say that they’ve been created – it’s poor defending.
“If I analyse the full game, 90 minutes plus four minutes of added time, then I was really pleased with the majority of the performance. I see plenty of encouragement in the performance.
“When we had 11 players on the pitch, I was comfortable. It’s a shame [the sending off happened] because it’s had a massive impact on the game and the other players.
“As I said, I was pleased with a lot of what went on today – the way that we tried to regain the ball, the way that we tried to press and the way that we retained the ball.
“The only thing I’m really disappointed with is defensive responsibilities individually.”
Keane was one of two players sent off during the match, with Portsmouth’s Jamal Lowe also shown a red card. The Pompey player was giving his marching orders late in the game for a dangerous challenge on Jamie Allen.
Hill agrees that it was correct decision by the referee and says that Allen should be ok.
“It was a bad challenge. I think it was purely accidental – it’s one of those where the ball is coming over you and you’re turning to try and make contact with the ball – but it was a horrendous challenge and he deservedly got sent off. Jamie should be ok – he’s very tender at this moment in time.”
The full interview will be available to view on iFollow.