Javier Lopez: Can’t be successful if we keep conceding so many goals

Hyderabad FC’s next match in Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 will be against Mumbai City FC at the G.M.C. Balayogi Athletic Stadium in Hyderabad on Friday. The club’s maiden campaign hasn’t quite gone as intended, with the team managing to win just a single match in 13 attempts so far. Their upcoming task isn’t going to be easy either, with Mumbai sporting the league’s best away record this season.

At the pre-match press conference, Hyderabad’s interim head coach Javier Gurri Lopez reiterated the narrative and said, “Mumbai are a strong team. They are playing now to be in the top four. It’s not going to be easy for sure. We expect that it will be a difficult game. But we know that the difference between the first in the competition and us, who are last, is not too much. We have a great team. We have a great first XI. We have really good younger players. Our mentality is to play exactly the same way we have against Mumbai.”

However, Lopez admitted that to get the better of Mumbai, his team will have to shore up their defence, which has conceded a league-high 31 goals so far. “I have been watching all the statistics of our team and we are the team who have conceded the most goals. We have let in 31 goals. This is not possible if you want to be successful and want to be in the top level of the competition. I think the problems are courtesy of not just the defenders but the entire team. We will try to be compact. We have 11 players, including the goalkeeper. We defend with 11 players, including with the striker. That’s our philosophy,” added the Hyderabad boss.

Lopez was handed the reins of the team quite recently. Talking about his experience with the squad thus far, he stated, “We are really happy with the attitude and mentality of the players. The training has been fantastic. High quality, high intensity, high concentration. Then at the same time, I think the players are enjoying the training. For us, that’s the most important thing. If you are training hard and are enjoying the training, then in the game you have the same mentality. In one week, we can’t change too many things. But we will try to change a few things that are possible. Last game, we lost 2-1. Maybe that game could have been 2-1 in our favour.”

“We have about one and a half month until the end of the season. We will try and know all the players. We will try to win the next few games. It’s not easy but we are checking new players, younger players. We are really excited about our team. Our team, during the season, deserved to win more games. They lost due to a few details. Sometimes they made silly mistakes while defending, but they are creating chances. I think that we deserve to win more,” he maintained.

Meanwhile, midfielder Adil Khan, who was also at the media briefing, said, “Preparation for next season is already underway. We are trying to make a good team. We will try our best to make it into the top four next season. What we had planned for this season couldn’t happen. Our performances weren’t good. Next season, we will try and do better.”

Read the Match Preview here.

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