Manager Keith Hill has praised Dale’s first half performance against Burton Albion, as well as the players’ courage, grit and determination to see the game out in the second half, to secure an opening day 2-1 victory.
“The Tenerife trip was worth it!” said the Gaffer as he offered his thoughts on the game in his post-match interview.
“The first half, wow, [it was] incredible! I thought the first half margin could have been more.
“With respect to the way I want to play, I thought it was evident in the first half. The players accepted responsibility, but when we’re 2-0 up, we should be managing the game with the ball better than we did in the second half.
“It was a game a two-halves.
“Basically, we showed great determination and Josh Lillis has kept us in the game in the second half.
“The only disappointment I have from the second half is that we saw exactly the opposite to what I’ve expected and seen in pre-season, but that’s probably a test of the players’ nerve. As I’ve just explained to the players, if you play the way I expect you to play for 90 minutes, and you can, then if we had lost that game today having been 2-0 up, I still would have seen a lot of encouragement.
“But I have seen a lot of encouragement – in the first half with the way that we played and in the second half the courage, the grit and the determination to the see the game out. We also had a little bit of luck – Josh Lillis made some good saves, but we did have an opportunity to go 3-0 up through Bradden Inman.
“We have to be better in the second half at doing what it is we do. The way that I want to play has been evident in pre-season and if they play like that in the second half, then we’ll win games, we’ll lose games and we’ll draw games.
“The outcome of the game could have been anything, but as it happens, we’ve got the win and I’m really happy because it’s a product of everything we’ve been doing in pre-season.
“I’m really pleased to come here and win on the first day of the season. It gives everybody a little bit of encouragement and a little bit of hope. You look at the supporters we had following us and there’s a little bit of a bounce from last season - there’s almost a promotion feeling. I’m working with a good squad of players, and I think everybody can see that, but it’s just one game.”
Watch the full interview on iFollow.