Brian Barry-Murphy says he was pleased with a lot of aspects of his side’s performance in Wednesday night’s pre-season friendly against Huddersfield Town.
It was Dale’s first friendly on UK soil this summer, and despite the Championship side running out victors, the Dale boss labelled the game as an excellent workout.
“It was a tough game against opposition that was specifically chosen for that reason,” said Barry-Murphy.
“We were very conscious of the fact that in pre-season we want to face teams who will give us a stern physical and technical workout.
“They’re obviously an exceptional team having come down from the Premier League, and they were more or less at full strength, so it was a great challenge for our lads and one that we relished really.
“I was very pleased with a lot of aspects of the game. Obviously, there is a lot of stuff left to work on, which is what we want at this stage of the season.
“I was pleased with the way we were trying to play. The process of how we want to play is similar to last season, but we want to evolve, get quicker and stronger, and try and excite the fans with that brand of football.
“It was very rewarding for me to see the players encounter good opposition, and it was a great test for us at such an early stage of the season.
“Hopefully, it’s going to be a very encouraging start to the season that we can carry on as the season progresses.”
Dale made numerous changes throughout the second-half, something Barry-Murphy explained is all part of the pre-season plan put together by his coaching staff.
“At the moment, the level of conditioning doesn’t allow us to be at full tilt for the full duration of a game, but the plan is that we can play at that speed and intensity for longer and longer as we progress through pre-season.
“I don’t believe it’s how fast you start the season, it’s how strong you can finish the season.
“Our lads have put an awful lot of work into the next few weeks and we’ve got a very specific training regime that we’re working towards.
“Part of the plan was to play this game, with certain players getting different amount of minutes, and it was evident how fatigued they became in certain parts of the game.
“There’s a huge element of building towards the fitness and conditioning that Kevin Gibbins wants our team to play at.
“But we’re a long way from where we want to be, and we can only get there through gradual building blocks and really applying ourselves in a focussed and committed manner in training every day.
“The match was a continuation of that and the lads showed real elements of starting to bring speed into their game. It was good to see those elements of speed in the performance as they build up towards an exciting part of the pre-season plan.”
Ian Henderson had broken the deadlock early in the game with a fine header, which the Dale boss was delighted to see.
“It was a brilliant goal. We haven’t done loads and loads of attacking play, we’ve been focussed on the defensive structure of the team and working hard to get the ball back, and we knew we’d be tested in that.
“It was good to see the natural, impulsive attacking play is still there and the guys won the ball back really aggressively.
“It was a lovely phase of play and a great goal. Ian was in a position that he is in so often, and it’s so hard to pick up for even experienced defenders.
“It was a good goal and I was glad to give the supporters something to appreciate really early in the game.”
The full post-match interview with Barry-Murphy is available to watch on iFollow HERE.