Manager Keith Hill has praised his side’s second half performance against play-off chasers Plymouth Argyle, as he delivered an honest appraisal of Dale’s display in the 1-1 draw…
Speaking after the game at the Crown Oil Arena, he commented: “It’s a very good point after the first half performance. I wasn’t happy with the first half performance – we weren’t engaging with the opponents, psychologically we looked like we’d been beaten and there wasn’t enough energy out on the pitch.
“Leaving Jimmy McNulty out tonight was a big risk, but it was the right tactical decision, although I think I got the personnel wrong in midfield. I’m without Ian Henderson and Andy Cannon, so I’m pretty light in there and I don’t think I got the permutation right to match their three.
“We didn’t offer anything in the way of possession in the first half, but I thought we saw a better reflection of us in the second half. We went 1-0 down against the run of play but we showed the type of spirit and bravery that I expect.
“I’ve been in many a fight, and my Dad always told me that if you’re going to fight against somebody and you’re going to get beat, at least leave an impression on them. But not only that, leave an impression on your supporters. When I watch a boxing match, if someone is defeated, I want to see a bravery in the way they fight, and I think we got that in the second half. We stepped into them and we looked more comfortable in possession, and we started to relax into the game. I’m pleased with the second half performance, but to be fair to Plymouth we rode our luck in the first half, they probably should have been at least a goal up.”
Rochdale looked a different side in the second half, as they caused problems for the opposition, and Hill believes his half-time substitutions were key.
“I’m thinking on the touchline in the first half about how I can change it and where I can change it. You’re trying to engage in the game, you’re trying to get your message onto the pitch and you’re thinking about how to change it to improve our opportunities going forward.
“I changed Calvin into the centre of the pitch early on but I don’t think Stephen Humphrys playing out wide or down the middle worked tonight, so I needed Gilly on, or somebody of his ilk, who can play out wide and can join in with Calvin, and I thought he was excellent. I thought Bradden was excellent in the second half, so we got more possession.
“Joe Rafferty is a very clever passer in the centre of midfield – he sees a lot of options, he reads, he interprets, he’s very good at landing on things in the centre of the pitch and he can feed Callum Camps who is more creative, and then I’ve got Ollie Rathbone who has the energy.
“I don’t think we had enough passers on the pitch in the first half. I wanted energy, but it was almost like we were arriving too late instead of arriving on time, and that’s down to the players’ brain. I thought we could swamp them with energy in the first half but they were far too clever for us.”
Watch the full interview on iFollow