Manager Brian Barry-Murphy reflects on Dale’s Carabao Cup Round Two tie against Sheffield Wednesday at the Crown Oil Arena…
“Our lads gave absolutely everything. The commitment to the game and everything since we’ve come back has been exemplary,” said the Boss.
“We had a bit of a dip on Saturday when we, for one reason or another, just didn’t show up at Swindon, but tonight we showed up and we gave it everything. We just weren’t good enough on the night but that wasn’t for the want of trying and that’s all we can every really ask.”
The game against the Owls was the second Championship side that Rochdale have faced in the competition this season, having beaten Huddersfield Town in Round One.
“That’s perfect for me. In an ideal pre-season we would have had games against Championship opposition, so to get them in a competitive manner with something hanging on the result is even better.
“I said to our lads that the easiest thing for us would have been to go and lose heavily at Huddersfield when that was the perceived logical result. But we actually beat Huddersfield and we got another game tonight. We had chances to be in the game right until tonight but we couldn’t do that. The fitness levels of our guys are increasing quickly and we’re in a much better place tomorrow as a result of that.”
BBM made three changes to the side that lined-up against the Robins on Saturday and he said that was important.
“It’s very challenging in terms of balancing that [giving players game time] with wanting to be competitive and to represent the Club in competitions where there is a carrot of getting to the next round and having some amazing ties like we did last year.
“I’m just conscious of the fact that we have lads like Ryan McLaughlin who has done more than ever over the last three weeks and if I start pushing him too soon, then he becomes vulnerable then we have no other players to play, so Eoghan O’Connell gets asked to do a job that him or Yeboah Amankwah could have done, but Yeboah is a long way from being fully fit and can’t be exposed.
“Looking out for the players is the first priority and making sure that I don’t make any of them vulnerable, then it’s working forward from that to try and put a team out that is able to represent us and the way we want to play to try and win.”
And the Boss says there are plenty of positives to take forward from the game.
“My excitement for the group of lads is never wavering and that’s why Saturday was disappointing for us and myself, because it didn’t feel as if we implemented our style or the way we want to play, on Swindon. We just didn’t show up, but that can happen. Especially where we are physically, I think it’s important that I don’t lose track of where the lads are and be understanding.
“But we don’t make excuses and I didn’t want to hide behind the much publicised strength of our squad or lack of numbers, for what was a disappointing performances at Swindon, and I include myself at the very front of that. I think it was important that we acknowledged that and learned from it, and tonight felt much more like us.
“We didn’t score, but we could have done, and we got beaten by a strong team. Going away from the game, I have a clear feeling that it looked and felt like us tonight and if we build on that with the insatiable work rate and appetite that the lads show, then we can do great things.”
Watch the full interview on iFollow.