The biggest question mark before the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 season kicked off was how Hyderabad FC would perform under new management. The club had parted ways with former head coach Manolo Marquez, who had been instrumental in their success, guiding them to two playoff finishes and their first title triumph, the ISL 2021-22 Cup, during his three seasons at the helm. Compounding the uncertainty was the departure of several key players from the previous season, including Bartholomew Ogbeche, Odei Onaindia, Akash Mishra, Borja Herrera, and Joel Chianese. These significant changes left many doubting whether the club could replicate its previous successes.

As the season unfolded, Hyderabad FC faced relentless challenges. They struggled to secure positive results and also lost numerous players who had been pivotal to the club's performances in past seasons. Despite their efforts, Hyderabad FC managed to secure only one win throughout the campaign, finishing at the bottom of the table and falling far short of reaching the playoffs.

Record

Pl: 22; W: 1; L: 16; D: 5; Pts: 8; GF: 10; GA: 43

Hyderabad FC began their campaign with a demoralising defeat to East Bengal FC away from home, despite initially taking the lead. This set the tone for their season, as they struggled to secure victories. In fact, Hyderabad FC failed to win any of their first 17 games of the season, highlighting their difficulties.

Their first win came against Chennaiyin FC on the road, which was remarkable as Hyderabad FC fielded an all-Indian side, becoming the first club to do so. However, they were unable to maintain this winning momentum, suffering defeats in their remaining three away games.

Positives

Despite losing many players throughout the season, which weakened their squad, Hyderabad FC's fighting spirit was evident in every game as they continued to create chances.

In the absence of departed players, Hyderabad FC gave numerous opportunities to players from their reserve team. These young players impressed and showcased their potential, earning praise for their performances and highlighting the club's future promise.

Negatives

While Thangboi Singto’s side put up a tough fight against their opponents, they struggled to maintain defensive solidity, which contributed significantly to their downfall. Hyderabad FC managed just one clean sheet all season, achieved during their 1-0 win against Chennaiyin FC. Ultimately, they conceded 43 goals, more than any other team in the league, highlighting their defensive vulnerabilities.

Best player

Joao Victor

Victor was the only foreign player who remained with Hyderabad FC after all other foreign players left the club in January. His experience and leadership were crucial in anchoring the team and mentoring the younger players. The Brazilian not only scored the most goals for the club this season but also was their highest goal contributor, having a hand in four goals.

Best young player

Mark Zothanpuia

While Zothanpuia made his ISL debut during the 2021-22 season, the latest season proved to be a breakthrough for him, as he emerged as a key player for Hyderabad FC. He featured in 18 games, clocking over 1400 minutes on the field. Zothanpuia's versatility stood out, as he effectively fulfilled his duties playing as a full-back, centre-back, and midfielder under Thangboi Singto.

What do they need next season?

Having lost many of their domestic and foreign players, Hyderabad FC needs to overhaul their squad across all departments. While the young players showed promise and were impressed with their performances, the team needs more experienced figures who can step up during difficult moments.

The latest season, however, demonstrated that Hyderabad FC has a strong foundation of young talent that can be relied upon for the future.