Hyderabad FC are currently table toppers with 26 points from 14 games. Meanwhile, their opponents in the next game, ATK Mohun Bagan, are 7th in the standings with 20 points from 12 games. The current table toppers are going from strength to strength as they look to solidify their pole position against Juan Ferrando’s side who are desperate to get back to winning ways as they look to get into the top four places at the table.
Hyderabad coach Manolo Marquez is confident and optimistic in their abilities as they prepare to face ATK Mohun Bagan. The Nizams defeated NorthEast United FC by a 5-0 scoreline in their last match. Whereas the Mariners played out a 1-1 draw against Mumbai City FC in their last game.
Hyderabad FC head coach Manolo Marquez addressed the media in the pre-match press conference ahead of tonight’s game against ATK Mohun Bagan at the GMC Athletic Stadium, Bambolim.
Below are the excerpts of coach Manolo Marquez from the press conference.
Manolo spoke about how he plans to approach the game against ATK Mohun Bagan.
“When ATK Mohun Bagan have the ball, we have to defend the ball well, and when we recover the ball, we have to know what to do with the ball. They have a very good team in practically all the positions. They are very strong in the build-up. They are strong in set-pieces. They are the current runners-up in the competition, it will be a very difficult game.”
Manolo Marquez spoke about how he is keeping the players grounded as the struggle for the top four spots intensifies.
“I am very happy when I hear these things but I heard two-three weeks ago that we are now fighting the top teams who have more budget and fans. There are traditions in these teams. It is very big, and we are fighting. We have to play six games and in these six games, we have to be on top. It will be very difficult to be the champion, but it will also be difficult to qualify for top-four. We will try our best.
“In a lot of games, small details decide the match. We are confident in ourselves, we are optimistic but we know we have six very difficult games.”
Manolo was asked if there will be added pressure on the team considering past results while preparing for the forthcoming matches.
“We are on top. We won the last three games and we are in a good position to fight for the top four, even if we were not the favourites at the beginning of the season. We have good players, but now we have to be focused on the match against ATK Mohun Bagan. It is important to win this game, get a good result. We will continue to focus on all the possibilities because there are a lot of games left between the teams fighting for these positions.
“We may be at the top of the league table right now but we are fighting for the same aim as at least seven other teams in the competition. We have six more games and we will fight till the end in every game.”
Manolo Marquez gave his assessment on opponents ATK Mohun Bagan.
“We know we are playing against a strong team with a lot of good players and a really good coach. Everyone knows the qualities of the squad that they have and they are one of the favorites to win the ISL and top-4 qualification for sure.”
“It has usually been tough when we face them, even last season. I am sure it will be a good game again and let’s see who gets the three points.”
Marquez spoke about how he keeps the players grounded in difficult times like these.
“We are fighting against teams like ATK Mohun Bagan, Mumbai City FC, Jamshedpur FC, Kerala Blasters FC and they have more budget, more fans than us. There are a lot of things, the tradition in these teams is very big. We have to play six games, our team is on top and we are fighting for the same things as the teams that are in seventh or eighth place. It will be difficult to qualify for the top four, but of course, we will try to be champions or be in the top four.”
Manolo spoke about how important the week-long break was after a packed schedule.
“It is important because sometimes you have to play two strong teams in short periods of time. You have to play against some of the best teams, so the best thing is to adapt. You get time for recovery or the problems caused due to Covid, the players can then arrive and be match-fit.”
Akash Mishra is now adding to his goals tally, and Aniket Jadhav amongst others is performing well as the tactical evolution of mentality is finally seeping.
“Young players in other teams, for example, Vikram Pratap Singh, for Mumbai, and the other day Kiyan (Nassiri) for ATK Mohun Bagan. Every time, there are more young players for India. Our backs, if they are not the best they are one of the best in the left and right-wing but with the new rule of only four foreigners allowed, the young Indian players have more time.”
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