Jimmy McNulty says Dale didn’t perform to the levels they are capable of in Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at home to Bradford City.
It was a first defeat in four for Dale, and the first since McNulty took interim charge just over two weeks ago.
He said Dale had fleeting moments in the game but found it tough against a Bradford side gunning for automatic promotion.
“First and foremost, I have to admit that we weren’t at the races,” said McNulty.
I don’t think, individually, we were the players that I know our players can be. I don’t think we handled the ball well.
“There’s a definite recognition from me that we weren’t as good as we can be. We found it tough against a good team that are on the march.
“After mistakes were made early individually, a lot of our boys never recovered mentally. We are in a critical, fragile position in the league.
“It was edgy and nervy, and when we made those mistakes individually, we seemed to suffer.
“I tried my best to help them recover the belief in themselves, recover their confidence and their courage. They weren’t what they can be, but I forgive them, I have to. I have to move on to the next game because that comes very quickly in football.
“I’ve been out there making mistakes loads of times and I know it’s very difficult to recover, but we have to go again.
“It is [looking bleak]. I’ve always been excited to lead the team and take the matches. I’ve always been excited to try to help us show what we can be, which we haven’t shown for so long as a club.
“I think we’ve shown some brilliant stuff in the three games before this. We only showed it in fleeting moments today’s game, but I still thought we managed to create a couple of clear chances that we missed.
“When I reflect on the game as a whole, I think Bradford were the better team than us today, but I don’t think they threatened the goal too much. They scored from two set pieces and a massively deflected third.
“We had two one-on-ones in the first-half and hit the bar in the second-half. Despite the fact that we were nowhere near the races, we still managed to have some chances.”
Watch the full interview with McNulty below via our official YouTube channel.