Manager Keith Hill reflects on the week and looks ahead to Saturday’s League One fixture v Plymouth Argyle at Home Park…
“You’ve got to learn from Tuesday night, and what we learned is that when we attack like I want us to attack, we look very vulnerable defensively,” said Hill.
“You’ve got to get the balance right and it should have been on Tuesday night. We should have defended better individually and collectively because the way we attacked was back to where I expected it to be and it was back to where it was when were at our very, very best in the league and when we got promoted to League One. From an attacking point of view, we created the right amount of chances per game that I expect and that the fans are used to but we got the other end totally wrong.
“We’ve got to find that formula, we’ve got to get that balance right. For our goalkeeper to play so well during the week and concede four [is disappointing]. But again, if you look at the last goal that was conceded, it should have been a free-kick going into AFC Wimbledon’s box – there was definitely a foul on Ian Henderson but we conceded a penalty instead.
“I’ve it had confirmed that it should have been a penalty for the foul on Bradden Inman in the second half, but it’s just the way it goes sometimes and you’ve got to deal with it. Difficulties of life make you better and they make you stronger – it’s character building.”
And Hill confirmed that a couple of players have picked up injuries as a result of Tuesday’s fixture.
“We picked up one or two injuries as a consequence of Tuesday night’s match, which I don’t want to divulge ahead of the weekend’s fixture.
“Kgosi [Ntlhe], Ollie [Rathbone] and Josh [Lillis] are still unavailable, too, because of injury so we’ve got probably five players who aren’t available for this weekend, but it doesn’t make us weaker. I’m still relatively happy with the health of the squad that I’ve got to pick from.”
Dale were in Lancashire Senior Cup action on Wednesday afternoon, providing game time for a host of players.
“It was valuable game time for some of the players who hadn’t played for a long time, but they need more game time and they need to improve. They’ve still got to catch up. We’re running out of football games, so they have to catch up to speed really quickly, but they’re not, so if they don’t catch up to speed quickly then they don’t play, it’s as simple as that.
“They need to do more in the games that we’ve got available and they need to put the players who’ve got the shirts at this moment in time under pressure. I saw a little bit of that on Wednesday but not enough.”
Rochdale travel to a Plymouth side who are unbeaten in their last three games. Despite Tuesday’s defeat, Rochdale remain above the relegation zone heading into the fixture and Hill says everyone is focused on securing Dale’s League One status.
“We’re fighting and you’ve got maintain your focus on the job in hand until it’s irretrievable and until you can’t turn it around.
“We’re in there fighting and the players are doing everything they possibly can, as are the backroom staff, the Board of Directors and everyone at the Club. The players will fight against Plymouth.
“We’re surviving, but while we’re surviving, we’re developing players for the future of this football Club so that this Football Club, that’s got an unbelievable history, can survive again when I’m no longer here and I’m dead and buried in the ground.
“We know that we have to better at home. We have to better with the psychology of that we haven’t performed well at home for a long time, but we’ve performed well enough to make sure we survived last season and hopefully we’ll do it again this season. Going away from home – it’s just another pitch, with officials, an opposing manager and his staff and team.
“If they are slightly better than us then we’ll try to come up with a plan to nullify their threats. Plymouth are in good form but we’re going there to try and win a game of football. There will be highs and the lows throughout the game, before it and after it, but we’re in survival mode at this moment in time. We should have a siege mentality - this is who we are and this what I expect us to be.”
Watch the full interview on iFollow.