Darrell Clarke slams “shocking” Port Vale defending in loss to Rochdale

Port Vale manager Darrell Clarke was livid with his side’s defending in the loss to Rochdale (Bradley Collyer/PA) (PA Wire)
18:30pm, Sat 04 Sep 2021
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Port Vale boss Darrell Clarke was disgusted with his side’s defending as they fell to a 3-2 defeat at home to Rochdale.

Jamie Proctor hit two goals for the Valiants but Dale took the points via two Jake Beesley headers and Corey O’Keeffe’s late winner.

He said: “Defensively we were shocking. In the first 20 minutes we should have been two or three goals up and the game should be near enough out of sight.

“We didn’t take those chances, we only got the one goal, then they scored and they’re in the ascendancy.

“We made changes at half-time and gave another sloppy goal away. We didn’t deal with the number nine [Beesley], we hadn’t dealt with him all day.

“Then we get back in it at 2-2 and we’re in a position to go for the win and we give another really shocking goal away. It’s a little bit unlike us but we have to be better.

“It’s not alright to concede three goals at home. You score two goals and that should be enough to win a football game.

“There won’t be any excuses from us, we haven’t defended well enough as a team. We started brightly and had opportunities. We scored two goals and we shouldn’t be conceding three. We have to address that.

“The buck stops with me, there’s no ‘I’, it’s a ‘we’. We didn’t defend well, we didn’t defend as we set up so I’ll have to look at my decisions.

“It doesn’t matter what formations you have or what changes you make, though, if you defend like that you’re going to concede goals. We haven’t dealt with simple balls into our box.”

Dale manager Robbie Stockdale was delighted after their win moved them into 10th in the League Two table.

He felt calming his players down was key to their success and said: “I’m really pleased with the boys.

“I thought we started slow and gave them too many touches in the middle of the pitch. We were on the back foot and we withstood a lot of pressure in that first 15 or 20 minutes.

“We were probably fortunate to only be one down but then we got a foothold in the game and our shape hurt them a little bit.

“It was always going to be a difficult game and it could have gone either way but our quality was there. We scored three fantastic goals and if we can do that on a regular basis it gives you a great chance to win.

“Credit to Port Vale, they started better than us and we had to settle everybody down a bit.

“Panic is the wrong word but when you’re under pressure like that everything seems to happen at 90 miles per hour so instead of shouting at each other, it’s trying to settle ourselves down, stay to our shape and play the way we can.

“I felt we did that, we finished the half stronger and took that into the second half.

“Jake [Beesley] is such a willing runner in terms of starting our press off and running into the channels and he wants to score goals, as does every forward. So if he’s contributing like that it’s brilliant.”

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