Brian Barry-Murphy says there are “positives to take forward” as his side lost out late on at Wycombe Wanderers.
Ian Henderson’s opener was cancelled out by Jason McCarthy’s fortuitous cross which crept in at the far post.
Joe Jacobson converted a 94thminute penalty to send Dale undeservedly home empty handed.
“I think it is very easy to let what happened in the last moment of the game cloud your judgement of the overall performance,” said Barry-Murphy.
“My honest assessment of the game is I thought we were magnificent. I thought we were brilliant in the second half.
“We could have been better in the first half, but we grew into the game and we had a lot of moves that were reminiscent of us at our very best in the second half.
“I was very disappointed for the lads that it ended in that way, but we can also take huge positives moving forward.
“Luke Matheson is going to get plenty more opportunities to show what he can do in those situations.
“He is arguably our most dynamic one-v-one defender, so we ask him to be first on the scene in those situations, which he controls loads of for us. His defending all day was almost faultless.
“You could say both goals in the first half were slightly unusual. There’s was a cross that was very hard to defend at the back post for Jay Lynch.
“They will say our goal was slightly unorthodox, but from our point of view, we try to press the goalkeeper effectively which is one of Ian’s strengths. It is something we work on so was good to see that goal.”
Callum Camps, Aaron Wilbraham and Robert Sánchez dropped out of the side from Tuesday’s game at Newcastle, giving starts to Calvin Andrew, Lynch and the returning Paul McShane – who extended his Dale stay midweek.
Barry-Murphy spoke of the importance of having a week’s break before hosting Gillingham on Saturday.
“Callum Camps has a sore groin which he sustained at Newcastle, as a result of not missing a single game for us all season. He was sore after Newcastle and he could miss two weeks. He is a big miss for us.
“Aaron has his mother’s funeral yesterday which was obviously a special occasion for his family. He will be back with us on Monday.
“We had a lot of players missing today, but we were able to get Paul McShane back which is great for us.
“It tends to be us getting multiple players in one area of the pitch missing at one time.
“We get some back and then lose some because of the schedule. We should have more back for us next week but at this stage of the season it seems to be more missing in our attacking options.
“We are looking forward to next week and getting a full week to prepare for a great game for us. Tyler Smith will join us on Monday so gives us another option in the attacking third.”