Manager Keith Hill has told iFollow that he “didn’t see that type of performance coming”, as he reflected on his side’s display against Fleetwood Town at the Crown Oil Arena.
The turning point of the game appeared to be when Andy Cannon was stretchered off on the hour mark with a suspected fractured cheek bone. Rochdale fell behind just three minutes later, and the Cod Army went on to double their advantage late in the game, hitting Dale on the break.
“Again, it’s small margins,” said Hill.
“You look at phases of play – Harrison McGahey does superbly well to recover and intercept, but the ball unfortunately goes out for a corner. We didn’t deal with the first corner and Ashley Eastham has a free header, which Josh Lillis saves. We then didn’t deal with the second phase of the next corner well. We had the midfield players getting into their positions slowly when we’re in possession, and it’s about the rest of the players being in good positions to support so we can regain or attack again.
“But, for me, the game wasn’t a great game. I said at half-time that it wasn’t a good performance but it could be a real hard-working performance where we really get a good result out of this, but we didn’t.
“There looked to be a bit anxiety after we conceded the goal, and then the players try to force it and they go a little bit DIY. It looks as though they’re not trying, but they are - they’re trying harder. I’ve been in this situation as a player and it’s a difficult situation to deal with, but there’s no pressure as far as I’m concerned, and I don’t want the players to play with that type of negative pressure.
“They’ve got to respond by being better than they were today performance wise. I didn’t see that type of performance coming. The performances recently have been superb, and training yesterday was buoyant, so I expected a positive bounce and a quicker game, but we didn’t get it.”
On Cannon’s injury, Hill commented: “I’m led to believe that Andy Cannon has potentially fractured his cheek bone and he’s going for an x-ray to confirm that. If that’s the case, then he’s out for the season which is such a shame because he’s in good form. I hope he’s healthy and that he recovers, and that we do the right thing. From a footballing point of view, it going to hinder us, but it gives other players an opportunity.”
Watch the full interview on iFollow.