Manager Keith Hill delivered an honest assessment of Dale’s 2-1 defeat to Gillingham at the Priestfield Stadium…
“If I was to just look at the performance, I was reasonably happy with how we controlled the first half and I was very disappointed to go in 1-1 at half-time,” said Hill.
“We had chances in the second half to at least carry something away from the game but it’s inexplainable at times how we self-implode a little bit, not for 95 minutes, but for small periods during that 95 minutes.
“There will be a small wobble and the opposition will score, and that’s the most frustrating part of it, because a lot of it is good without being great, but when we wobble, we concede. That’s not just down to the back four or the goalkeeper – it’s down to everyone associated with the goals that are going in. It’s frustrating because the way that I wanted us to play was quite evident today. I was relatively pleased with a lot of it but it’s a results driven business and we’re not getting the results.
“We controlled the early parts of the game and controlled the way we played, and I know they [Gillingham] changed shape towards half-time. But I think they were given a severe lift by the refereeing decision that resulted a in a free-kick. Dangerous play? My player makes contact with the ball and not the player – he kicks the ball cleanly. He clearly takes the ball without any impact on the opponent but they are awarded a free-kick in a dangerous areas of the pitch, so we’re not best pleased with that, but I can’t believe against the run of play that we ended up conceding the second goal like we did. That’s a recipe for disaster.
“We can’t keep making similar mistakes, regardless of the personnel, which is allowing the opponents an opportunity to step into a game that they’ve probably not deserved to get anything from.”
He continued: “We’re as rock bottom as we can possibly be and there’s only one way we can take adversity on, and that’s head on. I want the players to be brave without being kamikaze and there was a little bit of kamikaze football towards the end of the game, so I want more control from the players. I want them to have a wear their heart on their sleeve type of mentality when it comes to stopping their players, and today we’ve thrown away a great opportunity.
“We’ve got 20 games left to play and we’re trying to accumulate as many points as we possibly can. We’ll try to take encouragement from this performance because I’ll never give up and I don’t expect my players to give up or the supporters who are backing us.
“It’s difficult but we’ve just got to keep striving on and improve. If we see improvement, then we’ll see improvement in results.”
Watch the full interview on iFollow. In it, he discusses the impact Billy Knott had when he came on as a substitute, the arrival of Ryan Delaney and why he wasn’t included in Saturday’s matchday 18, and the Emirates FA Cup draw.