Manolo Marquez – It will be a tough game against Kerala Blasters

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Manolo Marquez‘s Hyderabad FC face a stern Kerala Blasters test tomorrow in their bid to lift the Indian Super League shield. Vukomanovic’s men have little room for error after conceding a late goal from ATK Mohun Bagan in their previous game, resulting in them dropping two crucial points.

Ahead of the mouthwatering fixture, the Nizam boss answered questions from the media. Here are the excerpts from the press conference.

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“The preparation is basically the same for every game. Of course, all the teams have different qualities. We are very close to the end of the league and are focused on Kerala Blasters.”

Hyderabad have just 3 more games to go in the league stage and all of them are against fellow playoffs contenders – Jamshedpur FC, Mumbai City FC, and the Blasters.

Speaking about playing the stronger teams in the last lap of the league, Marquez said, “We don’t think too much about these things. If we win against Kerala, we are mathematically in the top 4 because they are yet to play each other and only one team can win that game.”

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“The team has reacted very well after every loss. We won against Mumbai after losing the first game, we beat Bengaluru after losing against ATKMB, we have been the best team in the second leg of the league after the loss to Kerala.”

Hyderabad FC have consistently churned out performances while sticking to Marquez’s philosophy of playing with the ball, and not slowing the tempo of the game despite the result on the scoreboard. They are the only team in the league that have scored 4 goals in a game four times or more (5-1, 6-1, 4-0, 5-0) Their goal difference of +21 is the highest in the league.

Asked if he was ever tempted to change his system, the 53-year old said, “The thing is that, in some moments, it depends on the opponent. For example, against FC Goa, it is very difficult to keep the ball because they play in a similar style. Compared to last year, we have had lesser possession. This is because we dont need to keep the ball for too long to create chances and score goals. This is why we have the most goals in the league.”

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“Every team that I’ve trained, not just Hyderabad, I believe that one has to adapt to the players that are available at the moment. For example, at the start of the season, we played with Hali (Halicharan Narzary) and Yasir on the wings. Now, Nikhil and Aniket bring different qualities. So, we try to play the same style but according to the qualities of our players.”

Kerala Blasters will be without one of their main strikers Jorge Pereira Diaz. A loss for either side will push them back a huge step from the League Winners’ shield. A thrilling contest awaits us at the GMC Athletic Stadium, Bambolim tomorrow.


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