Manager Brian Barry-Murphy reflects on Dale’s 4-1 defeat to Gillingham at the Crown Oil Arena…
“It was a difficult game for us. We obviously had a lot of players missing today but just as with Tuesday night, it’s not an excuse for us and we didn’t want to focus on that, we just didn’t perform. From my point of view, physically we didn’t match the intensity of the opponent and that’s alway disappointing,” said the Boss.
After a bright start to the fixture Rochdale went behind on nine minutes and were unable to get back into the game as the Gills netted another two before the interval and added a fourth early in the secon half.
“A lot of what we focus on is trying to remain calm and content when the goals go against us, but the overall effect that those goals had on the game today was far too much for us and, as such, we didn’t display the clear identity that we want and that we have shown in our victories previously, and that’s very important for us as a group to evolve and make that better as we go forward.”
BBM continued: “The variable that you don’t always want to admit but sometimes you have to is the opponents and the opponents were really intense and were very good. I was confident pre-game and I’m still confident now that we can match that and be better than that but weren’t today and that’s up to me to understand that and make it better.
“I think large part of that is us as a team understanding that when goals go against us we can overcome that quickly and still put our imprint on the game. The four goals that came today came from set-pieces and normally we’d treat it in isolation and try to get better at that and it wouldn’t have an impact on our performance but today it had an effect on our performance as an overall team and that’s something to work on.”
Six key players were missing for the match either through suspension or injury and while BBM says that’s difficult, he is taking the positives from being able to reward Ethan Brierley with his first league start for the Club.
“We had this last season and the results can be very difficult in these moments but the first signs of Kwadwo Baah coming into action was against Rotherham last season when we had no players available. All of a sudden he comes on the scene this year and I suppose the tendency is to forget where he actually started out.
“It’s the same for us now, we’re at a very difficult point in terms who is available, but Ethan gets his first start in league football today. While everyone will be thinking about the actual result today it’s the start of what is going to be an amazing journey for a brilliant player for this club. There’s always positives in every game.
“But like I said, it’s very difficult for us in terms of who we can put in a team and the guys you referenced there [the six] are not just members of the squad, they are integral parts. To miss the likes of Jimmy Ryan and Matt Lund today, that’s adding onto Gavin Bazunu, Paul McShane, Ryan McLaughlin and Ollie Rathbone - these are huge players for us. Ideally you would be bringing the young guys in when they [the six] are available and playing, but that’s just not the case at the moment and it’s just something you get on with.
“I do genuinely see it as a really exciting and positive trait but it doesn’t always feel like that when you are in the midsts of a game.”
He added: “I’ve just complimented him [Ethan] in the changing rooms and told him how he will look back on this as a hugely significant part of his career and the start of his journey. I think for Ethan, I was pretty sure pre-game that we would need to play really well because I know how good Gillingham are and the overall team would have to function really well to show him to his absolute best but we didn’t as a team today so I feel as if myself, definitely, didn’t get everything right, and, as such, it was a difficult game for Ethan but I will make it up to him in the future.”
Watch BBM’s post-match interview in full on iFollow, or listen to a snippet of his interview on our YouTube channel above.