'˜We paid price for giving class Pompey striker freedom'

Rochdale paid the price for allowing Brett Pitman the space to put them to the sword.

Sunday, 6th August 2017, 5:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th September 2017, 11:04 am
Brett Pitman celebrates his second goal with Danny Rose. Picture: Joe Pepler

Keith Hill feels his side fell to an opening-day defeat at Fratton Park as a result of sloppy defending.

Pitman’s goals came at either end of the second half and the Dale boss was fully aware you can’t allow a player of his quality the room to thrive.

Hill told rochdaleafc.co.uk: ‘It’s a results business and I’ve said that to the players.

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Rochdale boss Keith Hill. Picture: Joe Pepler

‘I’ve told them they have got to do everything possible to win and the manner in which we conceded the two goals was poor.

‘We can’t give (Brett) Pitman, who’s a superb player, those type of opportunities and that’s what we’ve done.

‘I wouldn’t say they’ve been created – it’s poor defending.

‘If I analyse the full game, 90 minutes plus four minutes of added time, then I was really pleased with the majority of the performance.

Rochdale boss Keith Hill. Picture: Joe Pepler

‘I see plenty of encouragement in the performance.

‘When we had 11 players on the pitch, I was comfortable.

‘It’s a shame (the sending off happened) because it’s had a massive impact on the game and the other players.

‘The only thing I’m really disappointed with is defensive responsibilities individually.’

Hill felt referee Lee Probert got the decisions right over the red cards for Keith Keane and Jamal Lowe

He said: ‘I was really happy with the start, with the way we applied ourselves and the way we took control of the game.

‘The game was handed over to the opposition, with respect to securing the ball, with Keith’s sending off.

‘It was the right decision from the referee and the wrong decision by Keith.

‘I think it was purely accidental (from Lowe) – it’s one of those where the ball is coming over you and you’re turning to try to make contact.

‘But it was a horrendous challenge and he deservedly got sent off.’