MATCH REACTION: Manager McCann happy to see a pressure-free Peterborough United performance

Posh players congratulate Jack Baldwin after he opened the scoring against Rochdale. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

Posh players congratulate Jack Baldwin after he opened the scoring against Rochdale. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

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Peterborough United manager Grant McCann is happy to soak up the play-off pressure on behalf of his playing squad.

McCann claimed the Posh fans saw a more relaxed set of players as they saw off League One play-off rivals Rochdale 3-1 at the ABAX Stadium today (February 25).

Posh top scorer Tom Nichols in action against Rochdale. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

Posh top scorer Tom Nichols in action against Rochdale. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

The much-needed win moved Posh to within two places and three points of the top six ahead of two tough away games at promotion-chasing Millwall and Bradford City.

Jack Baldwin, Tom Nichols and Paul Taylor scored the goals in a game that saw three players dismissed by referee Chris Sarginson. Posh played with 11 men against nine for most of the second-half before skipper Baldwin was also sent off 10 minutes from time.

Baldwin now faces an immediate two-game ban as it was his second red card of the campaign, but midfielders Anthony Grant and Chris Forrester are now free of suspension and available for the game at the New Den on Tuesday (February 28).

McCann switched his playing formation around today, lining up with a 4-5-1 system and it worked pretty well.

Posh boss Grant McCann during the Rochdale match. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

Posh boss Grant McCann during the Rochdale match. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

“The system suited us,” McCann stated. “The remit today was to defend first and foremost without losing our attacking quality and the players took to it very well.

“We were solid at the back for the most part and we still had our main attacking threats, Marcus Maddison, Paul Taylor and Tom Nichols, high up the pitch.

“I sent the players out there to enjoy themselves. That was my message before the game and at half-time. Myself and Lee Glover (assistant manager) will take any pressure that comes our way. I want to protect the players from it as they will perform better if they are relaxed. That’s exactly what they showed.

“We are now concentrating on playing as well as we can in every remaining game to see where we end up. We have two tough ones coming up now, but we can approach them with more confidence. Where we are in the table now doesn’t really bother me.

“We played well today. It was tricky at times because there were a lot of incidents. I’m not commenting on the red cards in particular, but the referee didn’t help either side because he was whistling non-stop. The game didn’t flow as a result.

“But we dominated the ball. We created lots of scoring chances and we saw out the game well enough. It can be tricky against nine men as they just sat back, but we were totally in control until Jack got sent off.

“It was good to get the third goal soon afterwards and what a goal it was. There was a great mnove, a good touch, a terrific cross and an emphatic finisher from Tayls.

“We saw some good stuff from individuals. Brad Inman showed us what a good player he will be for us and it was a shame he didn’t get the goal he deserved.

“Tom Nichols took his goal well. That’s two in two for him now and 12 for the season. He’s a good player and he scores goals.

“We’ve won two of our last three home matches and it’s good to see we are turing our form around at the ABAX.”

McCann revealed on-loan centre-back Dominic ball was left out of the matchday squad for tactical reasons. With Baldwin now missing, he could be recalled for the game at Millwall.