Manager Keith Hill reflects on Dale's Checkatrade Trophy exit...
“We knew they [Manchester City U21s] were a good side and we knew what they were all about,” said Hill.
“We pressed and were full of energy and we kept the ball well in the first half. We scored the two goals and we took a deserved lead.
“In the second half we got tired and gave the ball away too much, and we made mistakes at key times in the game. At 2-0, their first goal is a terrible mistake and it gives the opponents a lift. It doesn’t kill us but their third one is a deadly goal.
“They’re an excellent side for the age that they are playing at but I was really pleased with a lot of aspects of what we did tonight.
“It’s difficult to play against an opposition like that. Stephen Dooley needed to come off, and, in an ideal world, I would have taken Rory [Holden] off. Ollie Rathbone has been struggling a little bit with tight groins, so I had to make that sacrifice with respect to bringing him off.
“But it's a game that you should be winning, there’s no question about that.”
He continued: “We’re 2-0 up and the players aren’t getting it right when they are given the responsibility of playing time, and that’s what it comes down to. Football is a simple game and players have to accept responsibility for decisions that they make but we’re not getting that. We’re getting mistakes that are really costing us.
“Mistakes are made by players during games and unfortunately that’s what cost us tonight. We were in a really strong position against an excellent side and we run out of a bit of steam, but at 2-0 you should be able to control the game, and to a certain degree we did, but the goal [their first] gives them a lift and I’m really disappointed with that.
“We, as a team, should be in a position where they are getting frustrated and we’re getting counter-attacking opportunities, and that’s the frustration of their first goal. It gave them a massive when we were getting tired and that’s why we ended losing like we did.”
Watch the full interview on iFollow.