Brown lauds team’s character, Schattorie points at lack of stability

Hyderabad FC marked their first-ever Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) home match with a memorable come-from-behind victory against Kerala Blasters FC at the G.M.C. Balayogi Athletic Stadium on Saturday. Rahul KP gave the visitors the lead in the first-half, but Hyderabad hit back with two second-half goals from Marko Stankovic and Marcelo Pereira, which sealed the result in the home team's favour.

At the post-match press conference, Hyderabad head coach Phil Brown lauded the character shown by his team on the night and admitted that the side was under pressure to deliver in the match. “It’s really good to win any game of football but to win at home and when you are under pressure (is special). If you look at the last two results and then see you are at the bottom of the league but deep down you know you have good qualities in the team, good characters in the dressing room. The most important part of tonight’s performance was character. It wasn’t quality in terms of the football we played, etc. I told the players to wear the shirt with pride and respect the history of Hyderabad,” he said.

“I think there were a couple of players who shouldn’t have played because they had injuries. But they played with injections and painkillers. It was a matter of wearing the shirt with pride. Anyone can focus on the injured players and make excuses. But I ripped that page up and in the next page was the team. That was where I had to focus on and what we did, and consequently got the result we deserved,” he added.

Speaking about the home support on the night, the Englishman stated, “I was delighted with the crowd, the turnout. The atmosphere was brilliant. If you can bring in the crowd and make it a fortress, you have half a chance. Nine of your games are at home. There was a lot of hard work which went into tonight’s match.”

Asked about the possible turning point of the match, Brown said, “In the half-time, during the team talk. We have some young players and old heads as well. It was all nervous tension before the match in response to the crowd. It was the first match. I think in the second-half, we forced Kerala to change their style after we scored the equaliser. If they change their format, you are doing something right.”

He also praised match winner of the night, Marcelo Pereira and remarked, “Marcelo Pereira is a match winner. When he finishes a game and he finishes with the aplomb he did today, we need him on the pitch for as long as we can.

Kerala head coach Eelco Schattorie, meanwhile, pointed at the side’s start-stop pre-season as a crucial factor behind their shaky start to the season. “If you have a bad pre-season, you are always playing catch up. It’s all about stability. I haven’t found that stability till now or couldn’t create one. All the players have given it their full effort, there is nothing to say about how hard we work and how hard we try.”

“Today two players started with an injection. I lost another centre-back (Gianni Zuiverloon), who from the beginning of the season was not fit. So, you walk on a thin line. But you have to play. I emphasize that the work rate and the will to do something is there. But the type of football I like to play, I cannot get that (yet).”

The Dutchman then, explained the tactical changes he was forced into midway through the match. “So, eventually I changed to a 4-4-2 and played more long balls instead of playing from the back. That worked okay. Then the goalkeeper of the opponent team made some amazing saves. That’s not the first time I’ve seen it in the Hero ISL this season. This looks like a season of goalkeepers.”

Read the Match Report here.

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