Rochdale’s boxing masterclass: ‘We must wear them out, not knock them out’, says boss Keith Hill

By Josh Nicholls

Keith Hill hopes Rochdale will continue to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee after Saturday’s win at Cheltenham saw them go joint top of League Two.

The 2-1 success was Dale’s seventh victory in eight matches with only goal difference keeping them off top-spot.

An avid boxing fan, Hill believes his side must adopt the approach of a champion fighter as they bid to remain at the summit of the league.

“I’ve watched many a boxing match [and] the best boxers I’ve ever seen wear the opposition out and that’s what we have to do,” Hill told The Dale Player.

“You can’t always get a first round knockout and it’s the same in football.”

The Rochdale boss was also delighted to see his team implement their game-plan despite the hustle and bustle tactics of the home side.

“The opposition were trying to press us, we have to be brave in possession [and] we were. We showed great energy, enthusiasm and bravery in pursuit of playing our game,” he said.

“Obviously teams watch us and they’re going to try and upset us and be physical against us, but if we stick to our guns we will run the opposition into the ground by keeping the ball and that’s part of the strategy.”

Match-winner Ian Henderson, who scored twice, claimed on Twitter afterwards that Hill’s triple substitution at 1-0 down was the ‘catalyst’ for victory.

Jamie Allen, Graham Cummins and Peter Vincenti made way for George Donnelly, Andrew Tutte and Bastien Hery with 20 minutes to go, a change that sparked Dale’s revival.

“I felt we had nothing to lose and it would’ve been an injustice if we hadn’t got anything out of the game,” Hill said of the changes.

“I trust the players (and) I feel as though we’re developing as a team and as a football club. We’re getting that belief and there’ll be no pressure on the players home or away.”

Image courtesy of Sky via YouTube, with thanks.

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