Manager Keith Hill has spoken honestly about Dale’s start to the season, ahead of his side's trip to Fleetwood Town on Saturday.
After a rare midweek without a fixture, Hill says he has made good use of the extra available preparation time.
“It’s a good opportunity to take stock and to see where we are,” Hill told iFollow. “It’s difficult at the minute and we’re going through a hard period of our time at Rochdale Football Club.
“It’s making sure that we re-visit how we are effective against opponents, and what we need to do and what we probably haven’t been doing.
“This is my ninth full season at the football club – the previous eight have seen us make the play-offs on two occasions, secure two promotions and achieve a top 10 finish four times in League One, so we’ve not had too many difficult times.
“But this is difficult because we are not overachieving. In all of those seasons that I’ve previously mentioned, we overachieved individually and collectively, and we are not doing that at this moment in time so it’s important that we get back to that overachieving mentality. That’s what we’ve been working on this week and that’s what I’ve been reaffirming with the players.
“We’re not at critical yet but this situation is serious because we’re not scoring enough goals. We’ve got goals all over the pitch but it’s important that the players realise that we’re not just going to get goals because we’ve got attacking players in the side. The attacking players have got to attack, it’s as simple as that, and we haven’t been doing that.”
He continued: “The players 100-percent haven’t given up. We look quite solid and there’s no need to panic, but I don’t think we should be misled.
“You’ve got to be careful. I’ve been in this situation before where you’re losing 1-0, you’re playing quite well, you’re drawing games and you might win the odd or one two, and things don’t look like they’re broken. They’re not broken, but it can be misleading. You don’t need to be beaten 5-0 to realise that you’re in a dangerous position. We are in a dangerous position and we’ve got to make sure we sort that out.
“Games run out, they don’t run in, and opportunities get harder because of the pressure – focus or fold. I’m very much of the focus and I want the players to focus as well, and that’s what we’ve been trying to do this week as a staff without scaring the players. But we’re making sure the players know the situation that we’re in and that we are prepared to fight – we’re looking at their mentality. The conditioning of the players is good and the structure of the team is good, and it’s about making sure that they commitment to both ends of the spectrum – putting the ball in the back of the net and keeping it out at the other end. And if we do that, we’ve got a very good side on our hands. We’ve got a good group of players, but we need to have that devilment from them – that little bit of salt and pepper that you need to win football matches.”
Watch the full 13-minute interview on iFollow.