Brown enthuses about his players’ connection with home fans

Hyderabad FC will be looking for back-to-back wins when they host NorthEast United FC at the G.M.C. Balayogi Athletic Stadium on Wednesday. The new-comers got their first-ever win in the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) last Saturday, beating Kerala Blasters 2-1 to get their debut campaign in the league up and running.

“There’s quite a few actually,” claimed the club’s head coach, Phil Brown when asked about the positives from his side’s last performance at his pre-match press conference. “The main one for me, I thought there was an instant interaction with the crowd. I thought the players showed that they had spirit, especially in the second half, and consequently got the win because of it and I thought the crowd appreciated that. They motivated us and we motivated them. So, that was one of the biggest positives. It was quite surprising.”

He added: “The spirit and determination and the will to win is something that you can’t actually measure. But we witnessed it in its entirety for a good 45 minutes in the second half. As a coach and as a player, one of the rewarding things in football, is that when you have given your all and you get the reward of a win. You can relax and move on to the next game then.”

The Englishman, however, revealed that injuries are still a concern for his side and that he would wait until the final day before deciding his starting XI. “I don’t think we’ve moved past all the injuries. We’ve still got a fairly extensive treatment room. What we intended to do on Saturday was to focus on what we had and not on what we didn’t have. It wasn’t about how beautiful we played. It was about how strong we played.”

He then, provided an update on target-man Robin Singh’s fitness. “He limped out at the end of the last match. It was more of a cramp than a strain. It hasn’t really expressed itself on the training ground since the game. It’s important we get a similar kind of team and a similar kind of performance in the next game. I haven’t named the team yet.”

Turning his attention to NorthEast and the strengths they possess, the 60-year-old stated, “I will pick the strongest team available to me. The character that we showed, I’m going to reward as much as I possible can. However again, we had injuries from that game. We are carrying one or two from the game. I may have to change tactics. I may have to change the style of play.”

“We are coming up against a very strong team. They’ve got a lot of discipline about their team. They’re not wide open. They play a very, very organized game defensively. They have a strike force with Asamoah Gyan, who is capable of winning a game of football on his own. But we have a team of characters.”

Meanwhile, Marko Stankovic, who also attended the media briefing along with Brown, admitted that he was enjoying the multiple roles he was operating in for the team. “Right now, we are changing a little bit of system. Sometimes we are two in the middle, sometimes I am alone as the sitting midfielder. I can adjust to this. I love these positions, number six, number eight, box-to-box. These are my positions right now. I’m a little bit more in front of the defence which helps the team more.”

Remembering the win over Kerala, the Austrian said, “We played well in the last game. We had the crowd in the back which really helped us. I just think if the crowd does the same (on Saturday), the result depends just on us and not on NorthEast’s performance.”

Read the Match Preview here.

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