It will be a hard fight until the end of season: Hyderabad FC's Manolo Marquez

Hyderabad FC head coach Manolo Marquez was delighted with the result as his side bounced back with a 3-1 win over Chennaiyin FC in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 season at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, in Chennai, on Saturday.

Goals from Halicharan Narzary, Chinglensana Singh, and Borja Herrera ensured an emphatic win for Hyderabad FC while Petar Sliskovic scored got on the scoresheet for the hosts, in what was a disappointing night for the two-time Hero ISL champions which saw Chennaiyin FC defender Ajith Kumar being sent off in the second half.

Marquez was delighted with the way his side responded in the second half after an ineffective opening half while also appreciating his team’s attitude in training ahead of their game. The 54-year-old further emphasised on the importance of scoring goals from all corners after earlier winning games by smaller margins as he addressed the media in the official post-match press conference.

Here are the excerpts from Marquez’s press conference:

Congratulations on the result. To win 3-1 after two defeats, what is your general assessment of the game?

When you are in a bad moment then you need to win one game. We know our first half was not good and it is true that Chennaiyin FC had the ball for more time and they kept the ball well, but I think our team had more clear chances in the first half.

In the second half, after the first goal and the red card to Ajith Kumar, with all the games we watch everyday, I think they are equal and with 1-0 up and one red card to the opposition, it was nearly over. We scored the second goal very early after the sending off, even then they (Chennaiyin FC) showed character with a goal from Petar Sliskovic.

But in the second half, we controlled the situation better. At the moment we need to continue to play and like my colleague Des Buckingham had said that we are still not halfway in the competition and all the teams have to keep going. There will be a hard fight until the end of the season.

This was the first win after two defeats and before the game you expected a better performance and that the team was motivated during training. Did you see glimpses of what you trained during the week in today’s game?

The attitude in the training session this week was fantastic, but in the first half we knew we are coming off after two defeats and it is true that even we did not control the game (in the first half).

When both full-backs, Ajith Kumar and Aakash Sangwan attacked, and then when Prasanth Karuthadathkuni went inside along with Petar Sliskovic, Abdenasser El Khayati, Julius Duker and Edwin (Vanspaul), who are good players, and most of them are offensive players; we knew that if we are compact and defend in a good way, we would have had a lot of space when we recover the ball. And we executed this in the second half, not in the first half. This is what I discussed with the team before the game, Chennaiyin FC is a very brave team, and we had to take advantage of the spaces they had in their defensive structure.

How important is it to get goals from everywhere on the field?

It is very important because in the last six to seven games, we scored and won by a one-goal margin. It is important to score goals. We were the team with the most goals, and I do not want to compare because every season is different.

This season, in the last few games, we have had more possession of the ball where we normally do not have more possession of the ball against the opponents, but it could be due to our respect for the opposing team. We have to search for the positives, and it is true that we scored three goals today. Football is all about confidence. My players are very tired, but one normal player with confidence is better than one very good player without it.

We scored three goals and won the game, and now we are second in the table. We'll rest and then focus mentally, because mentality is crucial in any sport.

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