Keith Hill says Dale’s performance in Saturday’s 2-0 win at Bradford City was one of the most “three-point-worthy” for a long time.
Dale created a number of chances and two Ian Henderson penalties in the closing stages secured the victory.
Hill praised the team performance, something he said the players were responsible for.
“I thought it was a good performance,” said Hill.
“At the end of the day, you want your team to represent the values that you train to, that you try and teach, and I thought that’s what we did today.
“Our energy was superb, our commitment in front of our own goal was commendable as well. We nullified Bradford for the first-half, except for one scramble when we did really well to preserve and protect our goal.
“At the other end I think we could have been at least one to the lead at half-time and I was really pleased with the performance.
“In the second-half I thought we managed the game really well. I think we made the right substitutions at the right times and I was really pleased with the performance, but not just the performance, the preparation that’s gone into that performance. The players are responsible for the performance, so well done to the players.
“I do believe the team performance today deserved the three points. That’s probably the most honest performance and three-point-worthy performance that we’ve had for a long time.
“It was a plan to win football matches. I’ve looked at the way we played and it’s a bit like, as my Dad always used to say, we flatter to deceive.
“We’ve played some amazing football last week with the ball, but without the ball it wasn’t what I expected. We need to make sure that we’ve got energy when the opponent has the ball.
“We can’t always have the ball and that was what was wrong with last week against Doncaster. I know we can attack, I know we’ve got the players in the squad to attack, but those attacking players have to defend from the get go.
“Jordan Williams is the best centre forward in the league at defending and he does wear down the opponents. I thought he was amazing today.”
Goalkeeper Brendan Moore made his first league start for over a year, making several vital saves on his way to a clean sheet. Hill says the American was tremendous.
“Brendan Moore has made two tremendous saves, that’s what goalkeepers do, they win matches. Everyone thinks it’s the strikers but it’s the goalkeepers who win matches.
“He’s had to work exceptionally hard. If I’m being honest with you, and Brendan knows that, if Magnus had been fit he would have played today. But Brendan’s done tremendously well and he probably deserves to stay in the side after that performance.
“He knows now that I’ll trust him but he’s got to back that up with performances and he has done today, he’s kept the ball out of the back of the net, especially in the second-half, when and where necessary.
“The one-on-one, that’s where goalkeepers win you games. Forget about the goals that were scored, this season we’ve scored more than enough. On the one-on-ones and at crucial times in games, you’ve got to make sure that your ‘keeper saves goals and he has done today.”
Hill also reserved praise for Stephen Dooley, who made his second league start in a Dale shirt.
“He’s an intelligent player and pleasing on the eye. He’s also an unbelievable function for the team.
“He’ll have covered one of the most distances, high-intensity, total distance covered and sprint distance.
“He’s a very intelligent football player. It’s great to get him fit. I want to protect him, I need him out on the pitch.
“As a manager I know what we’ve got and I’ve been searching, and that’s why the changes have come on a regular basis, for performances that lead to results like that.”
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