Kerala Blasters FC play incredibly good football, it'll be a tough match for us: Hyderabad FC’s Manuel Marquez

Hyderabad FC head coach Manuel Marquez suggested he wouldn't change a lot in terms of their playing side as his side take on Kerala Blasters FC in matchday 55 of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 season on Sunday at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco, Goa.

Marquez reflected on Kerala Blasters FC’s style of play and admitted his liking towards the team while commenting that both teams have shared a similar fate in the Hero ISL 2021-22 season.

Ahead of the match against Kochi-based outfit, the Hyderabad FC head coach addressed the media during a pre-match press conference.

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

What does last match’s result mean to the team’s confidence when you rallied back to draw the match?

The first goal was a particularly good combination between the players, but of course, when you concede one goal in 12 seconds, credit to ATK Mohun Bagan, but it also means that you’re not focused on the game. Particularly because, even without players, it’s impossible to score a goal in 12 seconds.

I think we started the game after conceding the first goal because we had a good first half, and in the second half they played better than us for some minutes. But we risked a lot of offensive players, and it was a very difficult game but it’s a good point for us.

After the last game, Hyderabad FC climbed to the top of the table, but now Mumbai City FC are back on the top. With all eyes on Hyderabad FC, how do you approach the game against Kerala Blasters FC?

Firstly, I have to say that we didn’t celebrate the draw, it’s not about the draw, it was about being on top of the table for the first time in the club’s history, and it was also the last game of our strengthening and conditioning coach.

Secondly, now Mumbai is on the top, maybe today there will be another team on the top. I think now, we have to be focused on Kerala, another team that is in a similar situation like us where both teams only lost the first game and after that we are unbeaten for eight games. So, it will be a difficult game for both teams and I think the style of both teams is nice to watch.    

Can you give a few words on the right squad selection in the season so far?

I know how football works. Now, it’s true, practically from the first day that I arrived at Hyderabad to last season more or less. Last season we didn’t qualify for the top four, but the season was particularly good and now, the team continues more or less in the same line, but it’s very difficult.

It’s not that we’re a big team, no, we are fighting against teams which are far stronger than us. The difference between finishing on the top and finishing fifth will be a thin line. I think we are very happy with our team but it’s not about how you start, it’s about how you finish.

Now, in the second leg, we have to try and continue to be in the middle, not too high, not too low, and let’s see what happens game by game because we have to play strong teams every four days.

What are your thoughts on the Kerala Blasters FC team and their Serbian tactician Ivan Vukomanovic? What kind of a game are you expecting tomorrow?

I like the style of Kerala very much, the players, the coach, they play incredibly good football. Now, they are playing fine with their three foreign offensive players who are more dangerous in attack, and they have good Indian players too. So, I think it will be a difficult game for both teams.

But after their win against Mumbai, they are playing very well. Even when things are not going their way during the game, they keep their calm.

What will be your approach against Kerala Blasters FC who are, as you mentioned, unbeaten in the last eight games?

I think both teams will try to play their style. It would be nonsense to change the style because both teams are unbeaten in the last eight games. The normal thing would be that Kerala and Hyderabad don’t change their style of game. As I say before every game, both teams will have possibilities to win the game. The team who plays better will win the game.

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