Joel Chianese interview: 'At Hyderabad FC, Indian and foreign players are under the same bracket, and that creates togetherness'

Hyderabad FC forward Joel Chianese has been a livewire for his side in the attacking department ever since he penned down his contract with the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) club, pulling the strings in all kinds of ways to be of maximum support to his team.

A chief technician with the ball, Chianese might not carry the goal threat of his other teammates, but he is the kind of a player who can operate well between the opposition's midfield and defence, causing them all sorts of problems.

Under the able guidance of head coach Manolo Marquez, the Australian has been moulded into a versatile player and his statistics prove it. In their title-winning campaign last season, the 32-year-old added four goals and three assists to a Hyderabad FC team, which already had the likes of Bartholomew Ogbeche in attack, who registered a record-breaking season with 18 goals to his name. Apart from a passing accuracy of 72%, Chianese also offered assistance in the defensive section, making 49 tackles, 16 blocks, 10 interceptions, and four clearances, proving himself to be a crucial asset for the Yellow and Blacks.

Ahead of the upcoming Hero ISL 2022-23 season, the Australian sat down with indiansuperleague.com and discussed his title-winning campaign with Hyderabad FC, the influence of Marquez in his playing style, and a lot more in an exclusive interview.

Here are the excerpts of the forward’s interview:

You won your first silverware with Hyderabad FC last season. How was the feeling of being a champion?

It was an amazing feeling. Becoming champions is never easy. It made all the sacrifices from all the players and staff at the club so much more worth it. It was and still is a very proud moment and memory.

The upcoming Hero ISL 2022-23 season will be your third season with Hyderabad FC. How has the journey been so far?

I have to say it’s been very enjoyable and you don’t stay with a club for three seasons if that is not the case. We have an amazing group of players and people at this club. It really is a special group and one I hope to be a part of for years to come.

Hyderabad FC has one of the balanced squads in terms of having young and experienced players. So, what is the scenario in the dressing room like?

The dressing room is exactly like what you see on the field. We have a mix of players that are experienced and youthful, very respectful, quiet but also dedicated and want to improve each day. Foreigners and Indian players come under the same bracket and that creates a “togetherness”.

Do you feel you have adapted to the Hero ISL now? What are your views on the style of football in the Hero ISL?

I feel that every year the ISL is improving a lot. You can feel it in training and in the games. I feel I have adapted really well. I have enjoyed embracing the culture more and more each season as well.

What influenced you to pen down a contract extension at Hyderabad FC and not sign for any other club?

To be honest, I made it clear to the club that if I was to stay in the ISL that it would only be with Hyderabad FC. Especially after becoming champions, there’s a feeling of wanting to create more history with this new club, with a lot of the same players and staff. I share a great mutual relationship and respect with the club and this is often more important than some other things.

Who in the Hyderabad FC squad has been your best mate and helped you to settle down when you first came here?

I’ve been with Joao [Victor] for three seasons now so we’re really close, and on a funnier side I’ve sort of taken Javi [Javier Siverio] under my wing as my apprentice, almost like his English teacher! Yes, we do have a good friendship on and off the field with the same sense of humour.

How influential has head coach Manolo Marquez been in your playing style, game sense, and other aspects of football?

I think Manolo has a lot of trust in me. My role is the link between our midfield and attack. It did take some time to change my style to suit what Manolo wanted from the team and me but now I enjoy each and every game with our style of play. I’m constantly trying to improve myself.

You will be playing in front of the Hyderabad FC fans at the Gachibowli stadium for the first time ever. What are your expectations from the fans? Is there any special message you want to send out to them?

Finally, we get to play in front of our fans at the Gachibowli. We can’t wait. I can’t wait. All I can say is that I hope we can see as many fans there at every home game supporting the team and we’ll be giving 100% every game that's certain to put smiles on their faces.

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