Hyderabad FC head coach Manolo Marquez was discontent over his team’s recent performances and expressed difficulty in maintaining the level of performance in each game. His side drew level with Chennaiyin FC in a 1-1 draw in Matchweek 15 of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 at the G.M.C Balayogi Athletic Stadium, in Hyderabad, on Thursday.

The visitors piled the pressure on the hosts early on and opened the scoring through a Petar Sliskovic header in the second half. The game took a turn as Chennaiyin FC conceded a penalty late into the game, which was calmly converted by Bartholomew Ogbeche whose 60th Hero ISL goal restored parity for Hyderabad FC.

The reigning Hero ISL champions failed to take benefit from the game as this draw kept them in second place, a point below league leaders Mumbai City FC. Marquez pointed out the adversity his team has been facing currently as he refuted his team being competitive when compared to the Islanders.

“We have one point and this is the best thing that I can say. Some people think that I am crazy but after five wins it's extremely difficult to win each game but we are not in a good moment. The other day we won in Goa, playing maybe one of the worst games in my three years here, especially the first 60 minutes were a complete disaster,” Marquez stated in the official post-match press conference.

“It's very difficult to keep the (same) level (every time) but this is not an excuse because all the teams are, more or less, in the same situation, especially when you have important injuries to players. As I said before, I can't avoid hearing people say that we can compete with Mumbai City FC, we cannot compete with Mumbai, they have 1000 more goalscorers than our team. We want (to be in) the top two but let’s see, there are still six games (left) and now we will recover important players like Joao (Victor) and Halicharan (Narzary),” he added.

It was a game where Hyderabad FC couldn’t dominate and execute the head coach’s game plan as his side weren’t able to create many goalscoring opportunities and were kept quiet by the Chennaiyin FC players for large parts of the game. On being questioned about whether Hitesh Sharma had been subbed off due to an injury, the 54-year-old opened up on his performance and shed light on the team’s overall display during the game.

“Hitesh (Sharma) is one of the most technical players in our team. If we don’t play our football, it’s not because of any of the players, but maybe we have to change the style and put one player with another qualities like (Sahil) Tavora. He played a good game but even in the second half, we didn’t play a good game. We equalised in a sporadic situation. I’m very happy with Hitesh, this is his third season with us and he is a great player but in some moments, you cannot always perform on a good level,”  he added.

Hyderabad FC have been struck with injuries to key personnel including their midfield general and captain Joao Victor, and Chinglensana Singh who is slowly making his return to the playing eleven. The head coach provided a fitness update on the players, and applauded his team for their fighting spirit amidst their rough patch of performances.

“Sana (Chinglensana Singh) is okay and is on the bench now. Now, Odei (Onanindia) and Nim (Dorjee) are playing, and Sana is waiting for his chance. Joao (Victor) is in Brazil, but now we play against East Bengal FC and he can’t play. After this game, we have a break where we rest (in Matchweek 17) then he will be ready for the next game, which is against Mumbai City FC,” he stated.

“This team is very competitive even when we are not in a good moment, even without a good performance like this, I think we are very difficult to beat,” the head coach concluded.