Brown: Hyderabad will have a big part to play this season

Hyderabad FC kickstart their Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) adventure with a trip to the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata to take on two-time champions, ATK on Friday. The fixture will be the club’s first-ever in the Hero ISL and, therefore, Phil Brown and Co. will be eager to start on a positive note and make their first match in the competition one to remember.

Ahead of the tie, the head coach and captain, Kamaljit Singh addressed the media at the pre-match press conference. Brown was the first to speak and admitted that having seen ATK play a match before may help the team in the tie. "I think it’s a rarity that a coach can sit here before the first game and be able to talk about the opposition. That was the advantage afforded to us by ATK’s first game against Kerala (being played before this match). Not only myself, but all my coaching staff and all the players, we all sat in the same room in the hotel to watch the game. I thought ATK deserved to get something from the game, and yet they haven’t got anything. They could have put two, possibly even three goals past Kerala, and that’s the part I have to focus on. They have players who can create opportunities and score goals."

“For the last six weeks, I have been trying to focus on the players that I have. I think it is more important as a coach to understand my players and my group - how they are thinking - coming into the first game of the season," he added about his preparations for the tie.

Speaking about the occasion at hand, the 60-year-old stated, “It’s a great game for us. Away from home, I couldn’t think of a better venue. It’s a fantastic city, Kolkata. And we are coming here to face a team that, history has proved, have played good football."

Brown also spoke highly of the opponents but reiterated that his focus would be on his own team's performance levels rather than the opposition. “They have a coach who understands the game and understands India. My big focus, however, is on Hyderabad and the players that I have. We have prepared our team very well and we are looking forward to our first game."

Eager to win the hearts of Hyderabad fans, the former FC Pune City boss said, “The brand of football that we play is important. We have to win the hearts, the minds and the eyes of the people of Hyderabad. We need to try and enhance the way we play to fill the stadiums and hopefully excite the fans so that they come and watch us. So, yes, we have a big part to play this season and hopefully, that starts with the match against ATK.”

Kamaljit, who will be captaining the side this season, shared his views on the upcoming match and said, “Right now, everything is positive in the team. We are focusing on the game. Hopefully, what we have done in the past six weeks, we will deliver tomorrow.”

Read the Match Preview here.

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