John Sheridan admitted it was the worst performance since he took charge but he now has his first win as Fleetwood Town boss at the fourth attempt.
READ MORE: Rochdale 0 Fleetwood Town 2
Sheridan’s men beat fellow relegation battlers Rochdale 2-0 at Spotland thanks to a 63rd-minute Paddy Madden header and a strike from substitute Jordy Hiwula in the dying moments.
It created an eight-point gap between the clubs as Town climbed two places to 18th, two points above the drop zone.
And after three straight draws, Sheridan says it is the three points and not the performance that matters as Town picked up their first win since January.
He said: “It is actually probably the worst we have played since I have come in and we end up winning the game 2-0!
“I was disappointed with the first-half performance.
“We just cancelled each other out. We’d been creating chances in previous games but I don’t think we had a shot on target.
“It is probably the first time that I have been myself at half-time and let them know a few things. I expected us to be a lot better and I got a response from the players.
“I said, ‘It is there for you if you want it (but we need) 10-15 per cent more’.
“And that is what we did – played on the front foot a bit more and got in their face.
“With the opening goal, I knew we’d get a chance somewhere and Kyle Dempsey has done brilliantly.
“He has hit the target, made the keeper save it, and Paddy has done what he does. He is in the six-yard box for a little header.
“From then I think we got a lot of confidence. We were very lively on the break in the last 25 minutes and it was a great second goal from Jordy.
“Bobby Grant did brilliantly with a great little pass and Jordy has finished it very well.
“We look a hard team to beat at the moment. We defended very well from the front and we are working our socks off.
“At the end of the day it is not about the performance – it is about the points on the board.”
Sheridan made two changes from the side that drew 0-0 with Charlton on Saturday, with club captain Nathan Pond in for Gethin Jones and Conor McAleny replacing Wes Burns.
It meant a return to the wing-back system, with Ash Hunter in a new role wide on the left.
Explaining his decision to deploy Hunter at wing-back, Sheridan said: “I just believed he could play there.
“He has great energy and you could see he was doing the defensive work when he had to do it.
“I was hoping he could be a bit more of a threat going the opposite way, but I’ve seen Rochdale play and they can be a very good team.
“They can open teams up but I thought we did really well in nullifying them. They didn’t create much against us.
“I changed the shape a little bit. Pondy came in and looked solid, and young Ashley played at wing-back. They both did the job for the team.
“I wanted to match them up and go three at the back. It was purely for that game.
“We defended well and deserved to win the game.”
Dale defender Andrew Cannon picked up a suspected fractured cheekbone after a collision with Jack Sowerby in the 54th minute, causing a lengthy stoppage in play.
And Sheridan wished him a speedy recovery.
He said: “It is a worry when you see a clash of heads.
“You don’t want to see that in any game, so I hope he is alright.
“It was a long stoppage and we probably responded to it a little bit better than they did.”