Manager Brian Barry-Murphy reflects on Dale’s 1-0 win over Blackpool at the Crown Oil Arena…
“I thought it was a very exciting game,” said BBM.
“Even although the scoreline would suggest that it was quite tight, I thought it was brilliant to watch, and to see our lads play the way they did was exciting for me. I was immensely proud - that was the natural feeling after the game. It felt like a high end game because the opposition are so good, but I thought we were better.”
He continued: “I thought we started off really good and controlled the game. Blackpool had spells of possession in the first half, like they do because they are a very good team, but we kept them at bay and really protected Jay Lynch well, so much so, I think he had one shot to save in the whole 90 minutes against a team who have been outstanding and who have been unbeaten in 16.
“To see us play with that control when we did and didn’t have the ball was very good. The last two games have been pretty straight forward for us so we knew that we were facing a different test tonight. To see us coming through that with flying colours gives us optimism. I’ve been saying for a long time that the lads have been giving absolutely everything, and we feel as if we are capable of doing some very, very good things between now and the end of the season.”
Having last won at home in October, Tuesday night’s victory over the Seasiders marks three consecutive wins at the Crown Oil Arena in the space of the week, after Dale also secured the three points against Swindon Town and Accrington Stanley.
“To turn around our home results so emphatically is really pleasing for us to give our supporters that sense of watching their team at home and giving them something to be pleased about. I think for the first time this season we feel as if we have almost everybody fit - there’s only Jimmy Ryan and Stephen Humphrys who are now struggling for fitness, so I think you’re seeing the real value of that squad in there.
“What we’ve seen this season is that whenever we’ve had significant players missing, as much as we try to focus on the ones who are fit, it has been hard for us. But the lads have stuck to task amazingly well and I think you’re now seeing the true value of this squad and what they’re capable of doing."
Ollie Rathbone’s second half strike sealed the win for Dale and BBM says that goal is down to the midfielder’s hard work.
“A huge area of focus for Ollie has been on improving his goal scoring chances and getting into real goal scoring areas rather than shooting from very difficult angles. That was an exceptional finish and he has shooting style that’s very hard for goalkeepers to predict, so it was a text book Ollie finish. A real part of his development is getting into that position that is close to the goal and finishing the way he did, so it’s very rewarding for him. The work ethic of the whole team was something to behold.”
Rathbone ran to the bench to celebrate with the management staff and was joined by his teammates.
“I think the lads deserve that [type of celebration]. I don’t think it was over the top, I just think the lads are getting the rewards for the work they’ve put in over a long period of time. We’re fully aware of where we are in the table and what it means to everybody, but we can only do our absolute best and the players are giving absolutely everything.
“It has been tough this season, no doubt about that, but I’m just happy that everyone is starting to see the real potential within the group that we all believe is there. The staff and the players have been working incessantly with unwavering commitment in the face of a whole host of challenges.
“It has been hard but to see the lads getting the rewards they deserve is what I want on behalf of them - they’re the ones leading it. I can’t wait to bring on our next game and try to add to this performance again. We know it’s going to be difficult but we as though we can do well.”
Watch BBM’s post-match interview in full on iFollow Dale.