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Interviews

It's Been A Long Time Coming - Jim Bentley On U's Victory

25 September 2022

Interviews

It's Been A Long Time Coming - Jim Bentley On U's Victory

25 September 2022

Manager Jim Bentley’s thoughts on the 1-0 victory over Colchester United, Dale’s first league win of the season…

Devante Rodney’s first half penalty proved to be the only goal of the game, in a match where Richard O’Donnell saved Freddie Sears’ spot-kick right at the death. 

“It feels absolutely lovely,” said the gaffer.

“I think in the manner that it came as well - if I’m being critical I thought we probably should have been a bit more than 1-0 up at half-time but, again, there’s a lot of nerves knocking around. It’s the bottom of the table team playing a team that is struggling themselves, a new manager here [at Colchester] in the week, we’re away from home and all form, so it’s difficult to try and play better with the ball. But what we did do was dug in, we kept working hard and we put our bodies on the line which was typified by Rich’s [Richard O’Donnell’s] penalty save right at the end and Sam Graham has followed it in [to smash it clear].

“We’ve spoken about it in the week, about doing it at both ends. If your ‘keeper saves it, the player taking it who has missed it is going to follow it up, but thankfully Devante has scored his penalty and they’ve missed theirs. 

“All credit to Richard at the end. He will probably get more pats on the back than Devante did for scoring the penalty, but it’s massive that we got the win. It's been a long time coming - it’s important and it gives us something to build on. 

“I think we’ll get fitter, I think we’ll get better and stronger. There’s loads to do but the most important thing it trying to win games of football and get us up the table and I can’t ask anymore away from home. It’s a clean sheet, we worked hard to keep it, certainly Rich at the end with the penalty. We scored the goal with the penalty and could have had a couple more and made it a little easier, but we’ll take the 1-0 win and now it’s onwards and upwards.”

He continued: “Clean sheets breeds confidence and that’s back to back clean sheets in the week [following the 1-0 win over Liverpool under-21s in the Papa John’s Trophy on Tuesday].

“If you can keep the ball out at one end, I always think we’ll create opportunities. We had good opportunities today, certainly in the first half to be more than the one goal up. 

“Jim McNulty has come in, walking wounded, Aidy White dropped out in training yesterday so we had to shuffle the pack. Jimmy Keohane has come back from an injury lay-off has gone from right back to left back, and Femi has come back in at right back. We don’t need to highlight the injuries issues that we’ve got in the back line at the minute but we’ve probably got more players at home than we have here with us on the team coach. Whoever has got that shirt on has got to represent it in the right manner and really give it their all and put their bodies on the line, and today there was evidence of that today. We don’t want to be a soft touch. We want to be strong, we want to be aggressive, we want to keep clean sheets and, going the other way, like I’ve said, I think we’ll always look like we’ll be a threat and score goals so it’s pleasing.”

Bentley and his players went over the celebrate with the 130 travelling Dale fans at the end of the game and to thank them for their support. The boss spoke about his emotions at full-time. 

“It’s been a bit of time because I’ve been out the game. I think about a month ago I was on holiday enjoying myself and suddenly there’s a penalty in the 90th minute and you’re thinking ‘oh god!’, but it was lovely.

“I love winning games of football and there’s no better than doing it and [getting] your first in the league away from home in the manner that it came about with Rich keeping that penalty out at the end for us. 

“You should enjoy it and the players will enjoy it, that’s what it’s all about. There will be a couple of beers on the coach on the way home to breed that confidence and little bit of team spirit. It’s a nice happy dressing room in there, it has been a long time coming, but we’ve got that win now. And that’s all it is - it’s a win and we’ve got to make sure that we build on it. This stands for nothing going into the game next week. 

“It’s really pleasing for the lads, the staff, the board and yourselves (media team). The preparation has been right and I think it’s right that we celebrate a victory, especially away from home, with the fans who have paid their hard earned money to travel this distance. They’ve done fantastic today, so every credit to them. A big thank you from me, and I am thankful we can send them back up north with the three points to cheer.” 

Watch the full interview on the club's YouTube channel. 


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