Hyderabad FC are one of the most balanced teams in the league: SC East Bengal’s Mario Rivera

SC East Bengal head coach Mario Rivera had high praise for his Hyderabad FC counterpart Manuel Marquez but has chalked out a gameplan to defeat them as the two sides share the field in matchday 70 of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 season on Sunday at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco da Gama, Goa.

Rivera lauded his team’s heroics in the previous match, which earned them the first win of the season, and revealed that it lifted the environment in the dressing room. The gaffer also commended new signing Marcelo Ribeira, and his technical ability to score goals.

Ahead of his side’s match against Hyderabad FC, the Red and Gold Brigade head coach addressed the media during a pre-match press conference.

Here are the excerpts from the coach’s press conference:

SC East Bengal got their first win of the season in the last match. How do you maintain the momentum for the rest of the season?

When you win it’s always better to work for the team, and it will not be easy, but it will help a lot for the confidence of the players for them to do better things, to try to play better.

When can we expect new signing Marcelo Ribiera to be available for selection?

Yes, Marcelo will be in the match. We still don’t know whether he’ll be a starter or will come on from the bench but he’s ready to play. We need to check how many minutes he can play, and we will decide on whether he will start, or we’ll bring him on in the second half.

How much has the win helped in boosting the team morale before two tough matches?

Yes, the morale is to win games, so it’s always good. And it’s much better to get confidence because now the team is improving in their confidence on the pitch, to start to play with the ball, to do a combination of football. The morale is good because you saw the defending in the last few matches. Only a team with a high morale can do such a high level of defending, and as for the confidence, it’s always better when you win.

How do you rate your opponent Hyderabad FC?

Hyderabad, for me, are one of the best teams in the league. They are maybe the most balanced team that plays well in attack as well as in defence. They have a very good coach and he adapted quickly to Indian football during the last season and have one of the top scorers, of course.

Do you have a specific plan for Antonio Perosevic?      

Yes, Antonio will help us a lot. He’s a top-quality player and he will give us some of the things that we need. He’s very fast, good for the last pass, good at shooting too.

In the last match, SC East Bengal were stringing together passes and trying to go forward as a team instead of going for the long ball tactics. Will we be seeing more of that possession-based football against Hyderabad FC?

Yes, we are trying to do that. It’s difficult when you start to do that in the middle of the season but step by step the team is doing it. We are training every day and the players are getting confidence, they are believing in the idea and want to do that.

How would you describe Marcelo Ribiera as a player?

Marcelo is a real, authentic nine. He’s a good player in the box, a finisher that can play between the centre of the box. He’s a kind of a player who doesn’t need a touch of the ball for some minutes, but once he gets a touch of the ball in the box, he has the ability to score. That is the important thing, he’s not a player whom we’ll see have many touches or dribbles, but he’ll be ready to score provided he gets the chance. He’s a proper number nine.

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