Manager Jim Bentley on Dale’s 1-1 draw with Tranmere Rovers at Prenton Park…
“You’ve got to be pleased. It’s a hard-earned point,” said the gaffer.
“You’ve got to scrap and battle for every point in this division and I know how difficult it is, and certainly when you’re coming to one of the best sides in the league. I think the position they’re in at the minute is probably reflecting off the back of a bit of a difficult start, but they’ve changed the formation, they’ve got goals in the team, they’ve got athleticism and they are one of the best, if not the best, at home. I came to watch them recently against Crewe and I thought they were fantastic.
“It’s a really tough place to come - the crowd get all over you and once that home end gets up and at it, they drive the players on. We had to dig in there and we had to find a way. We are scrapping for points and when you come away like we have recently, it’s been all hands to the pump at Newport where it was 1-0 and Colchester the same where it was also 1-0. We then come here today and take the lead. They continue to ask questions of us and more so in the second half, but I’m pleased with the rear guard action, and I’m pleased with the desire and the determination.
“I said to the players that the fans want a team that they can be proud of and I think they’ll be proud of their efforts tonight because it’s a really tough place to come and it’s a good side that we were playing against, a team that’s in form and they don’t give many goals away. I think they’ve conceded one, which was at the weekend against Harrogate, in the last five or six, so for us to get our noses in front, you’re thinking can we go on and get another one, but it wasn’t to be.
“In the second half it was all hands to the pump and it was all them, but we stuck in there and we found a way to come away with a hard-earned point. It's a point, away from home at a good side. You’ve got to be happy."
Bentley continued: “[I was most pleased with the] grit, determination and organisation. Players emptied the tank and put a right shift in for us.
“It’s difficult, because the games have been coming thick and fast. We went last Tuesday and we had a tough game on Saturday which we are disappointed with, but they’ve come here tonight and responded in the right way.
“When the ball was put in our box we were getting bodies in the way, we were blocking and we were finding a way to keep them out. I think we rode our luck a little bit when Turnbull came round the back and he hit it against the crossbar from the second phase of that long throw. But it was as you are when you go away from home and, as I say, teams like this are going to ask questions of you, and that’s what they did tonight. From minute one they got all over us.
“We had little spells, but thing I am disappointed with is our ball retention in the opposition half. I think we can get a little bit of a breather by looking after the ball better. Counter-attack we know we’re a decent side.
“But to come here and get a point is the most important thing. You always want three, but if it can’t be three you take one and move on.”
Watch the full interview on the club’s YouTube channel.