Hyderabad FC finished second in the league stage, managing 38 points in 20 matches. They ended their league stage at a high, defeating Mumbai City FC 2-1. Manolo Marquez’s men arrive in good form, winning four of their last five games. However, their recent defeats against fellow semi-finalists, ATK Mohun Bagan and Jamshedpur FC show that there are chinks in their armor. The Nizams have played against the Mariners four times in the past. Three of those games have been drawn and ATK Mohun Bagan has won the most recent match by a 2-1 scoreline.
ATK Mohun Bagan come into this game after their disappointing 1-0 defeat to Jamshedpur FC, which saw them concede the League Winner’s Shield to them, ending their 15-match unbeaten run. Juan Ferrando would want his side to forget about that result and shift their focus on a tough battle against Hyderabad FC. The Kolkata-based outfit comes into this game in mixed form, winning only two of their last five matches. The Mariners finished third in the league table with 37 points to their name.
Hyderabad FC head coach Manolo Marquez addressed the media during the pre-match press conference ahead of their against ATK Mohun Bagan on Saturday at the GMC Athletic Stadium in Bambolim, Goa. Below are his excerpts from the Media Interaction.
Manolo spoke on what he has added to the squad to make them one of the most feared teams in the league this season.
“I think more or less we have the respect of the other teams about our players and how we play. We need to play a very good game if we want to have chances against a big team like ATK Mohun Bagan. These are the four strongest teams in the league. If we arrive in good physical conditions, it will be two good games.”
Marquez spoke about the team’s confidence ahead of the game.
“There are two parts to this. When you reach the semifinals for the first time there’s a lot of excitement and the players are eagerly waiting for the match. The other part is how you can play. In my opinion, our team is full of young brave players and I think they feel more happy than fear, but respect is always there. I think we will enjoy this historic moment for Hyderabad FC.”
Manolo shed light on the team’s preparation for the match against ATK Mohun Bagan.
“First of all, we need to recover the maximum players as possible after the COVID-19 outbreak. In terms of football, I think we are very good. In terms of physical condition, we will have to wait till the last minute and see how the team can be shaped up. I think we are ready and prepared to play against a very good team.”
With the 4 foreign players rule being implemented a lot of the teams shuffled their players but Hyderabad FC didn’t. Marquez spoke on how he managed to transform the team.
“Continuity is important in every team in the world. In terms of continuity, we did not need to change our players. Six of them were on the national team. One is Liston (Colaco), who is now with ATK Mohun Bagan. In terms of the ISL allowing four foreigners, we had to take advantage of this situation, especially at the beginning of the competition. I liked to play only with four foreigners.”
“We lost the first game against Chennaiyin FC, but after that, our team performed very well and was better in the second leg. There were some teams that reacted late and we took advantage of this. This is a game of not 90 minutes but 180 minutes or more. We have to be focused on winning the round in the first leg.”
Manolo spoke about the players who were selected in the national team from the club.
“I am very satisfied but the club, the city, and the fans have to be proud of these players (those getting called up for the national camp). It is the result of the good job that they are doing in the last two seasons. We have good young Indian players, with experienced foreigners. This is a good mix. This is the reason why (Igor) Stimac called six of our players.”
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