Manolo Marquez – Coming back to Hyderabad with trophy is fantastic


Hyderabad FC concluded an amazing season a few days back as they were crowned the champions of India within just three years since their inception. Hyderabad’s passion for the game, dedication and strategic signings got the city their first championship trophy in over six decades.

Manolo MarquezHyderabad FC

The Nizams had a post league press conference where along with coach Manolo Marquez, captain Joao Victor, the top goal scorer of the league Bartholomew Ogbeche, Hero of the final Laxmikant Kattimani and the fans’ favourite Nikhil Poojary were present.

Here are the excerpts from the success meet:

Manolo Marquez

Coming back to Hyderabad

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“It is a great feeling to come back to Hyderabad, one year ago I was in this same place but today we are here with the trophy. The feeling is fantastic to be back with the trophy.” said Manolo Marquez

Message to the fans

“Last season in this very place, I said to everyone that in the first season we were in the last position, in the second season we ended with 5th position but we won’t know what will happen in the next season but eventually we came back to this place with the trophy.”

“We receive many messages from the fans every day and we can only praise them for the support they have shown us through social media and by attending the final. Even if the KBFC fans were more in the stadium, we were able to hear Hyderabad FC fans perfectly and win the title for them.”

Missing out on the Shield

“At least we were one of the top contenders for the shield, then when the COVID wave arrived at our bubble we couldn’t play in the same conditions against JFC. In other moments of the competition, ISL decided to cancel a few games but they didn’t cancel the second leg game against JFC, but we know if we would’ve won that game we would’ve won the shield.”

Next step for Hyderabad FC

“When you start a project and sometimes you get success like this it will help you get to the next step. The next step here is to hope more fans join us in the stadium and support us.”

Journey of past two seasons in India

“In football, not many clubs retain coaches. We didn’t qualify for playoffs last season due to missing one goal but we continued with the same players and signed a few experience players it became easy for us.”

“This season was tougher than last season as COVID arrived into the bubbles of the clubs.”

Hyderabad FC’s defensive consistency

“Even though we had fewer clean sheets, in past the two seasons we conceded more than two goals only once, we had a very good consistency in terms of defense as the players worked hard in training sessions.”

“As all the coaching staff along with me and the players were moving in the same direction, it became easier and the odds were on our side for winning the cup.”

KBFC or JFC for finals, given a choice?

“India loves statistics, KBFC was a better choice than JFC because we never beat JFC. Last season the semi-final of MCFC vs Goa went to penalties. I had a feeling last season that we lost a great chance of not only qualifying for the top four but also missing out on winning the trophy. But this season we arrived at the top four where the two rounds against ATKMB were very difficult and I think JFC vs KBFC was also similar.”

Hyderabad FC maintaining a higher goal difference this season

“It’s not just about tactics but we had a good organization and key players in every line where the experienced players were helping the young players who were very brave and some of them had a lot of personalities.”

“Even when we played a bad game we were a difficult team to beat.”

Expectations ahead of the season

“When you arrive at a new club you always hope for a good season because you come to a new country. When I signed for Hyderabad FC I tried to know more about not only the club but also the culture. There was an advantage to the bubble, you had a lot of time and you had to spend it to talk to the players and get to know about their lives, where they played before and the academies they came from.”

“I always say India is like 20 countries in one country because there are a lot of different people. You never expect that you would lose the top four by one goal and the next season win the trophy but as my first season was good, I had more possibilities as I continued with the club for the second season.”

Plans for next season

“Now is not the moment to talk about next season as we just finished the ISL final a few days ago, now it’s time to celebrate and let go of the pressure of being in the bubble for 6 months and being away from the family.”

Laxmikant Kattimani

Manolo Marquez - Coming back to Hyderabad with trophy is fantastic S1jN9zzHU7

Confidence during penalty takeout

“I was very confident about the penalties, when I went to face the first penalty then I could see that the penalty taker was under pressure, I tried to put him under more pressure and went on the right way.”

“The second penalty was taken by Nishu, even though I was on the line, the referee gave a re-take and even in the second penalty I was confident that it was going to be on the right so I went on the right and saved it.”

Reading player’s minds during penalties

“It is difficult for the players who take penalties more than the players who save them cause they are more under pressure than us as they have to walk all the way from the half-line spot thinking about how to score the penalty and also keep listening to what the crowd is saying but for a goalkeeper it is only one decision.”

“I know I made an error in the 90 minutes but Sahil Tavora scored an amazing goal and equalized it, we played well even during the extra 30 minutes and when the penalties came up I was sure that I would save at least one or two but I made three saves.”

Coach’s message before penalties

”Coach Manolo told us to be ourselves, the goalkeeper coach also told me you know what we need to do cause we already worked on it as we gathered each and every player’s details before.”

Joao Victor

Manolo MarquezHyderabad FC

The pressure of the captain’s arm band

“We had an amazing group so it was easy to be a captain of the group, being captain is not just earning an armband as we don’t have just one leader we have Kattimani, Bart, Nikhil, Juanan and Joel who can share the job so it is easier.”

“We had a lot of young players since last season, we helped them improve the previous season but this season they were not so young anymore as we don’t have just one leader and the coach to help them we have many experienced players.”

“As it was the first final for most of the players maybe we couldn’t play our game as it was their first final and playing in front of the people for the first time. But we know their qualities so coach Manolo tried to make them calm at halftime and gave them confidence for the second half.

Bartholomew Ogbeche

Manolo Marquez - Coming back to Hyderabad with trophy is fantastic

Thoughts on not scoring in the final

“I thank all my coaches and my teammates who put me on the pedestal of getting the Golden Boot, without them I wouldn’t have come close to that but when you come to the final it’s not about one or two players it is about the team.”

“As Joao said, it was very difficult for the youngsters at first and we didn’t really show a lot of identity in the first half. When the coach gave them confidence during halftime, it took the pressure off their shoulders and we ended up winning as a team regardless of whoever scored as all we wanted was the trophy and we are delighted to have it.”

Signing for Hyderabad FC

“Hyderabad was one of the very first teams which approached me when I was available in the market, I never had any doubts regarding the club as I was also a very big fan of the team last season when I watched the way they played, it was really difficult to see that they missed out the top four, but I was happy in a way because we wanted to avoid them as well in the playoffs.”

“When I had the opportunity of coming here, I grabbed it and I appreciate coming here. As Joao said we have a lot of leaders in the team on the field, we have the front line, the middle line and the back, so it makes everything very easy to raise the confidence of the youngsters around us. Hyderabad’s style of play was similar to my style of play so it was easy to adapt and we were able to show our strength on the field.”

Message to the young players

“During the game pressure you don’t have to think about the final moment, you have to live in the moment, you have to take it as one game, a 90 minutes game. Don’t think about consequences, don’t think too much because in football if you think too much and too far you could get punched on nose, so stop thinking about if you lose or you win, think about doing everything you can to win that game. At the end of the day if you win the game it is fantastic but if you lose, look yourself in the mirror and be proud of what you have been able to do.”

Continuing at Hyderabad FC

“I would love to continue with Hyderabad FC but it is not in my hands, it is in the hands of the management but I would love to continue, for now, I am enjoying the moment as it has been a glorious achievement for all of us and not the time to talk about the future.”

Nikhil Poojary

Manolo Marquez - Coming back to Hyderabad with trophy is fantastic FO3ri6QVEAAvH3P

Playing under Manolo Marquez and with foreign players

“It’s great playing under Manolo and with foreign players, as they make me and my other teammates feel comfortable. The foreign contingent this season has made everyone feel comfortable and that is the reason why since the last season the Indian players are doing well.”

“The coaching staff is very receptive and we train well which helps us to do well on the pitch.”

Changes in Hyderabad FC since 2019

“I think there have been huge changes since the first season, in our first season there was an image that anyone who’s coming to Hyderabad was taking three points but now due to all the changes, we have an image of a team who are tough to beat. Neutral fans love watching us play, we haven’t lost many games and I am happy that I extended my contract with Hyderabad FC.”

“I am excited to play in Hyderabad next season, I have a good connection with the fans as I have played on the field in season one. Most of the other players never played in Gachibowli but if they do I am sure the players are going to love it as the fans are supportive and if we continue playing like this I am sure the stadium will be full in Gachibowli.”

Hyderabad FC have achieved quite an impossible feat by winning the league in just three seasons since their inception. Looking back at things during the devastating first season, little did the Deccan Legion know that coach Manolo Marquez and a few key signings by Technical Director Sujay Sharma would bring back Hyderabad’s lost football glory!

IFTWC wishes the Nizams all the best for their future plans of grooming the next generation of footballers in the country.

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