Manager Keith Hill has praised the performance of his players following Saturday’s goalless draw with Southend United.
Despite only having ten men following Ian Henderson’s departure early in the second half, Dale looked comfortable throughout the match and left Roots Hall with a “very important point” on the board.
Speaking to iFollow after the match, Hill hailed the display as “more like us” and was pleased with the point gained.
“I’m happy because what I saw today reflects me and our team, and looking into the future 41 games, I believe that we can step in.
“That was more like us, it was more like me and it was more like I expect from the team. There are still mistakes within what we’re trying to do and within the first 20 minutes of the game we should have been 1-0 up and pretty comfortable, but again, the game has been turned on its head from one or two incidents, and we have fought for a very, very important point.”
Hill was, however, unhappy with the performance of the referee.
“Jimmy McNulty should have been booked for the first infringement of the game but he wasn’t, then it was almost like ‘well I’ve made a mistake, so I’ve got to make up for it’, and there was an incident where the referee came over to Phil [Brown, Southend Manager] and from that moment onwards, once they’d had a little cuddle, it seemed to me that the refereeing went in a different direction.
“I’ve got full respect for Phil but I think he’s actually mesmerised the referee and officials with his touchline cuddle – I’m sure Phil had his arm around the referee or vice versa – and we don’t want them kind of antics on the sideline. If you’re going to come over to a manager then it should be to warn him of his conduct or send him to the stand. I don’t think it’s applicable and, for me, I think it contradicts the respect within the game.”
Goalkeeper Brendan Moore saved a penalty as he kept his second successive clean sheet, and Hill was full of praise for the Dale stopper.
“Brendan has got bravery in abundance.
“It’s amazing how he played the game today. I threw him in at the deep end against Shrewsbury which was a car crash, and then he played against Stoke, so you just hope that these players learn. They have to learn quickly or I’m out of a job, and Brendan’s learning - I love it!”
Jordan Williams, Dale’s deadline loan signing from Liverpool, completed the full 90 minutes, and Hill was impressed with the 21-year-old’s debut.
“He was brilliant considering he hasn’t trained with us.
“He’s gone straight into the team without any of the ‘this is the way that we do things’, but I know he is capable of playing in there. And he’ll play better – he’ll grow, he’ll be defensive, he’ll be offensive and he’ll break play up. His passing range is incredible at times. It’s a big game playing Southend away for any player and I think he has done absolutely superbly well after coming straight into the squad.
“He’s Jordan and the other Jordan Williams (11) is Willo."
Watch the full interview on iFollow.