Manager Brian Barry-Murphy on Dale’s EFL Trophy tie against Morecambe…
Speaking after Saturday’s win over Huddersfield Town, he commented: “We’re excited about Tuesday night’s game. It has always been a competition that I have really enjoyed. The result is not at the forefront of my mind because we will have a young team.
“We have young players who came on today (Saturday), and that’s just a sign of where our squad is at. The worry for us is that Jimmy Ryan has got a sore thigh, Eoghan O’Connell has got a bang, as has Paul McShane. Those guys can’t be risked, but we will have a team that is exciting to watch and we’ll give a good account of ourselves.
Dale head into Tuesday night's match on the back of Saturday’s win over the Terriers in Round One of the Carabao Cup, the first competitive game of the season. After a strong start to the second half, Eoghan O’Connell netted from a free-kick six minutes after the restart to break the deadlock, something that pleased the Boss.
“Something that we are conscious of and that we have worked on with Gareth Morgan, our psychology coach, is that we had a tendency last season and the season before to be quite slow starters in the second half. I’m not sure it was for any particular reason, but we were conscious that we need to be really focused and earn the right to play again in the second half after the resumption when teams are fresh and at the most competitive, so that was pleasing to see. We were very good in the early stages in the second half and got the goal at a crucial time, which gave us a real sense of belief. It was a great reward for the players.
“Our set-plays was something that we wanted to work on. I said jokingly that I’d sack myself, but I did, and Callum [Jones] and the lads have been taking that forward themselves and they really want to improve it. We feel it’s a part of our game that we should be improving on, on both sides of the ball, both attacking and defensively. We can only work on that. There will be games when we don’t score off set-pieces and there will be games where we concede from set-pieces but as long as we’re relentlessly trying to improve that side of our game, then we’ll all be happy.”
Barry-Murphy was also pleased with the “good characteristics” that he saw in the performance.
“It was a great day for our lads to put themselves into a situation where they were going to be uncomfortable physically, but we managed to retain our attributes that we want to show this season.
“We were up against a team that we were very aware that, the more we didn’t have the ball, the more we’d have to defend, so our control was very good. We had good moments in terms of creating chances ourselves and we managed to penetrate.
“All aspects of our game and our behaviours today were top notch and we managed to be consistent. We got the goal at probably a good time for us because we were probably in the ascendancy. We were resilient when we had to be and defended deep against a team who are capable of penning you in for long spells. We showed good characteristics for our first competitive game of the season.
“I was worried about the lads physically, because I knew we weren’t really ready for this game. Their competitive nature took over and they were really stretching and really straining late in the game, and that’s when you become vulnerable physically, but that was with my boring head on. In the end, it’s a cup game that we have a rich tradition in over the last few years and the lads were desperate to get to the next round and they showed that quality in abundance with their attitude and application. Post-game, they are exhausted.”