SC East Bengal earned their first-ever win of the season against FC Goa a couple of days back. Manolo spoke on if he feels it is going to be a competitive game to face SC East Bengal given that they are building on momentum.
“It was the first win for them but I think that in the past games they even lost in their last minutes against Jamshedpur FC. They drew the two games before that, and they are a competitive team. Let’s see now because now they have changed some of their players. They play with a lot of order and discipline.”
The last time Hyderabad FC played SC East Bengal, it was a one-one draw. Marquez spoke about how he looks forward to changing the result in their favor.
“They scored first in the game through a free-kick (Amir Dermisevic‘s goal). We equalized soon, but we played very badly in the second half and they played with a lot of order. They had many players behind and they were very compact defensively till the end (to secure a player). Those types of situations are always very difficult in football, and we didn’t play a good game last time out.“
“We have to change some details and rectify our mistakes because it wasn’t the first time. Chennaiyin FC more or less plays the same way as them and there are other teams that have this style to play of being compact and then go on the counterattack when they have the ball.“
Manolo Marquez was asked about his assessment on opponents SC East Bengal.
“I think in these cases SC East Bengal has more problems than us because they appointed their third coach this season, and also they also had a lot of changes in the starting lineup. I think after Renedy was the interim manager the team changed a lot in terms of the order and he was pivotal. Maybe under Manolo Diaz, they tried to play more in the attack. I feel the players they have at this moment are good.”
“Now again they have appointed a new coach in Rivera, but he didn’t have too much time to train the team. We also don’t know which players will be available for them. Talking about foreigners we only know that Perosevic is banned. We don’t know if they have foreigners available or players with covid who couldn’t play the last game. Still, it will be a very difficult game for sure.”
Given the fact that SC East Bengal is ranked lower in the standings, it is an opportunity for the Nizams to record a win and consolidate a top-four position. This is what Manolo had to say,
“Every game is an opportunity for us and always when you play and win a game you climb up in the table. We were always in the top half of the table from the beginning of the season if you don’t include the first game. We were eight games unbeaten and since then we are placed in and around the top-four spot in the table. If we win tomorrow it’s a big opportunity for us, but it’s not down to the strength of the opponents.“
“It’s true they (SC East Bengal) are in the lower half of the table. We have a game in hand and if we can win tomorrow’s game then we will be in the top four places again. We are aware that 5-6 games were postponed in the league. So we can’t judge the teams on basis of the current table until those games are being played and every team has played an equal number of matches.”
Manolo Marquez spoke about the competitiveness and the unpredictability of the Hero ISL.
“I think ISL is totally unpredictable. There are a lot of factors and it’s impossible to tell which teams will be in the top four or which teams are favorites to win in the league stage, and then you have the playoffs which are even trickier. So it’s very difficult as every team is very competitive and you can’t predict who is the strong teams as teams’ strength changes as the season goes on.”
Playing from the wings is a major part of Hyderabad FC’s game plan. HFC is among the teams with the most crossing attempts. Manolo shared his verdict on it and said if he is satisfied with the performance of the plays from the wing and the players in that department.
“In my opinion, there are some countries, and maybe India is one of those countries (due to the English influence) where statistics are important. For me, you can cross a hundred times but maybe you don’t have to cross at that moment. It’s not about the number of crosses, it’s about the quality of the crosses. We have two complete offensive fullbacks who are usually one of our tools in the offensive but you have to choose when to cross.”
Hyderabad FC had close to 10 days of rest from the last time they played a game. Manolo expressed his thoughts on if a longer gap between the games helps the team get stronger mentally and physically to give their best.
“I do not agree that the break has given the players a rest. Even when the players are inside their room they are not resting. Mentally it’s very difficult for all the teams because we are always talked about in the media and also we keep thinking about the games. So it might be a physical rest for the players but mentally it’s not a rest. With all the restrictions in the hotel and for training, it is hard for the players to stay mentally fit. Even though we have different activities to refresh our minds and keep us healthy mentally and disconnect from football as sometimes it might feel boring.“
“Then again I don’t think that we have an advantage with the 10 days rest that we had. If we play regularly in every 4-5 games like we did last time out the team becomes more competitive since they get used to playing. For me, this kind of rest period is okay after we have 3-4 consecutive games maybe it’s okay, but if we can’t train in the best possible conditions there is no use in having a rest as it is more difficult mentally in that situation. So, we have to make sure that we are ready for this game which is most important.“
Considering the Covid situation even at the bio-bubble, where all the norms and the procedures are being followed strictly, Manolo spoke on how he is handling the physical and the mental well-being of the coaching staff and the players.
“We are following all the rules and the guidelines by the ISL. We are well aware of all the norms and procedures and we follow them accordingly for the physical and mental well-being of our players and the staff. We mask every day and follow all the instructions as we are given. Unfortunately, this is a situation all over the world. Let’s hope it ends soon and we can play normally without any restrictions and strict bio bubble.“
“I feel it’s very strange we don’t know if the teams have enough players available during different moments as the information is not there. It’s very difficult but then again we have to be focused on our team and improve our game because these are the only things that we can control and is in our hands. We can’t waste time by thinking about all these situations.”
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