Manager Keith Hill offers his thoughts on 10-man Dale’s 0-0 draw with Bristol Rovers at the Crown Oil Arena…
“I thought we had the chances in the second half and we had the energy in the first half but I don’t think we had the intelligence. We got into some great areas of the pitch very quickly but then there was no composure on the final pass and we were rushing things in front of goal. The half ended pretty dramatically with respect to Magnus [Norman] getting sent off and then the second half is obviously very difficult,” said Hill.
“I thought we managed the second half very well – you’re always going to come under pressure because the opposition are always going to create one or two opportunities, but I think the opportunities were quite equal in the second half and we probably had as many good opportunities in the second as we did in the first but we had more possession and more final third entries.
“They gave us more space in the second half. I think they came to sit quite deep and counter-attack us, and that was one of the things we mentioned before the game, so it was important that we showed good energy on the front foot.
“The key decision of the game where the referee sends the goalkeeper off is poor defending from us as a side and it’s a shame really because there’s no way Magnus should have been sent off, but the lads did themselves proud with respect to building blocks. We’ve conceded a lot of goals and the players could have gone lame and felt like a victim but they didn’t and they reacted in the way I expected them to.
“I was really happy with the energy, the commitment and the basic values. I’m really pleased from that aspect and I think that will allow us to grow. I thought the body language was superb from the players and it represented our identity, so I’m pretty pleased about that.”
Norman was shown a straight red card at the end of the first half for a collision with Stefan Payne, after coming out to try and win the ball just outside the area. The Gaffer believes the goalkeeper shouldn’t have been sent off.
“Magnus shouldn’t have been sent off. The referee doesn’t know and the linesman doesn’t know and between them they try to paint a picture for the supporters and for the technical areas to show that they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing and they’re doing what they know is correct. We just want correct decisions and they haven’t made the correct decision.
“I’m going to go and see the referee to see what he actually sent him off for. It’s not denying a goalscoring opportunity and if it’s for violent conduct, then it’s not violent. There’s nothing in it - he’s trying to head the ball. We’re again asking for better key decision making from officials – there are four out there and they should get the right decision, but, unfortunately, they haven’t tonight.”
Watch the full interview on iFollow.