Manager Brian Barry-Murphy reflects on an exceptional performance against Sunderland at the Crown Oil Arena…
“I’m very disappointed with the result but the performance was amazing for large periods. I thought our guys played with incredible courage and were on the front foot for large parts of the game,” said BBM.
“Even late in the game when we were 2-1 down, I thought it would have been easy for us to get stretched because Sunderland are a dangerous team on the counter but we found a way to summon some energy to go and create chances right at the end of the game. The atmosphere at the end told its own story – it felt like a proper atmosphere and a proper game at our ground. I thought it was amazing night despite the result."
The visitors took the lead against the run of play through Republic Of Ireland international Aiden McGeady, but Callum Camps equalised just five minutes later.
Charlie Wyke scored what proved to be the winner 11 minutes after the break, but Dale threw everything at their opponents late on, dominating the closing stages, but just couldn’t the equaliser they so very much deserved.
“Their goals came from nothing. We weren’t able to prevent them, but a team like Sunderland can score a goal at any time, and we were always conscious of the fact that we might need to score a few with their fire power. I thought we created enough chances to win the game, but we weren’t able to score enough on the night. That wasn’t through the want of trying, because we committed multiple men to attack over and over again, and we were committed to everything that I wanted the players to do, so from my point of view, I can ask no more of them.
“I addressed the players in the dressing room only briefly because I didn’t want to speak on emotion. I have been in their shoes and I know how hard it is to go behind having dominated a game so much. The game can drift away from you and you can forget what you’ve been working on but our lads really focused on what we had planned all week, and they created chances late in the game that I thought we could take but they just didn’t drop for us today.”
The match marked 16-year-old Luke Matheson's first EFL start, and BBM is extremely proud of the youngster.
"Luke is picked purely on his ability, there is no agenda at the club to push him forward into our environment. He’s an integral part of the squad. He was picked for a specific reason and I thought he acquitted himself amazingly well. He’s obviously a superstar in the making and he’s going to go far beyond my level of football. I thought he was amazing, as was the team - they protected him well. He brought his own qualities to the team, also."
Watch the full interview on iFollow.