Manager Brian Barry-Murphy on Dale’s 2-0 defeat to Shrewsbury Town at the Crown Oil Arena…
“Nobody wants to hear my say that we played well and that we created chances and that we should have won the game,” said BBM.
“We were all fully aware of the importance of tonight’s game and the lads put everything into it and prepared for it immaculately. Our performance for large parts was very good, but we just didn’t covert the chances we created, and, as such, it feels very difficult for us tonight. The lads are hurting a lot in the changing rooms.”
Dale were the better of the two sides during the first half but were punished during the second period, having been unable to find a way past the Shrews while on top.
“It’s similar to Saturday in that sense. I spoke on Saturday about not being obsessed with the table or where we are, but everyone knows that and the players are fully aware of that. That can lead to anxiety in performance, but the lads were up for it tonight and they gave absolutely everything.
“You could see what they put into the first half, so, for me, at half-time it was just about getting ready to go again and not focusing too much on what had happened in the first-half in terms of chances missed. But then we give away, which for us, are two very disappointing goals again, and because of the situation and how desperate the lads are to do well for the club, it can almost feel like here we go again or it’s no going to be our night.
“That will only change by doing our very, very best to bounce back in every moment of the game and that next moment now is the next game. That’s all we can focus on because nothing else matters in a footballing context as we move forward.”
The Boss opted for a change in formation for the fixture, with the side lining up as a 3-5-2. He explained his decision behind that.
“There were two main considerations. The players available to us and, with that, the players who are missing at the moment means it’s very difficult for us with a lot of forward players missing, so we tried to play to our strengths.
“Really conscious of our home form - the results and performances at home lately haven’t been what we would have wanted for the group, so I felt as if this would play to our strengths and expose the opposition’s weaknesses, and for large parts it did.
“Like I said, the players responded brilliantly from Saturday at Sunderland in terms of preparation and what they could bring tonight but for them it feels difficult because at the end of the day results can be very hurtful at this stage of the season and they’re obviously very disappointed with the way that went tonight.”
He added: “Off the back of Saturday against Sunderland, some of my friends and some supporters that I saw were asking how I can remain so positive and so upbeat despite the difficulty in terms of the league position in the table or the run of results, and it’s simple for me - I can see what the players are putting in and I know what they’re doing.
“The determination to prove the outsiders wrong who predicted where we’d end up in the table and where we’d finish this season is unwavering and that’s probably never going to more needed as we move forward because we have been written off, we will be written off but everybody is fighting within that dressing room and that was evident tonight, it just doesn’t feel like it based on the result.
“We can talk about that for as long as we want, but sooner or later we need a win but that will only come by putting in the work like we did tonight and focus on the next challenge. The next challenge is on Saturday against Lincoln and that is all we can focus on. We can’t control anything else.
“I don’t want to come across as making out everything is great. The lads are hurting and they are feeling really disappointed, but only because of the efforts they’ve put in. If you were to accuse me of protecting the players or sticking up for them, then I’d say absolutely because I’ve seen what they’ve done from pre-season right the way through.
“I won’t keep harping back to it but on this occasion I will. We were predicted to be relegated by Christmas, have no points after 10 games and the players have changed those perceptions by the performances they’ve produced.
“We’re on a very difficult run, I accept that. The home form has been abysmal in terms of our results, and where we are in the table is very disappointing because we believe we are capable of being higher up the league.
“The lads are giving absolutely everything for the club and, as such, whenever they need reminding of what’s needed, I do that like I did last week against Burton, but against Sunderland and Shrewsbury, the only thing that I can be slightly critical to the players about, and I was, was that towards the end of the game we started doing things that weren’t part of the plan.
“Our chances in the first half came from the players being really being focused on where they should be, how we get players in the box, being aggressive, how we can take no step back, and towards the end of the game we became a little bit disheveled and started doing things that were a little bit desperate and that won’t help us to change where we are, it’ll just prolong it. If we remain focused on what we can do, it can change really quickly, but it doesn’t feel like that at the moment.”
Watch BBM’s 13 minute long post-match interview in full on iFollow, or click through on the video below to watch an extended clip on our YouTube channel.