Marquez delighted with first-ever clean sheet and full three points
Hyderabad FC started their 2020-21 Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) campaign in style with a 1-0 win against Odisha FC on Monday. It was Hyderabad’s first win against Odisha; it was also their first-ever clean sheet in the history of the league.
Last season’s bottom-placed team, Hyderabad naturally had reasons to celebrate and in the post-match press conference head coach Manuel Marquez, first time in charge of the team, expressed his delight at the result.
“I’m really very happy. Even in pre-season we conceded two goals in every game except against Bengaluru where we drew 1-1. But this is our first clean sheet and it’s a reason to be satisfied,” he said.
Aridane Santana scored the only goal of the game from the spot in the 35th minute and helped his team get all three points. Hyderabad dominated possession (53%) and had a much better passing accuracy (72%) compared to Odisha and on another day could have scored more goals.
Talking about their style of play on the night, Marquez said: “We have to play with the style of the players. With our players, we need to play long balls and second plays. For me, if we want to get good results, we need to manage the game. Sometimes we aren’t very strong physically and we need to have the ball, keep possession. Sometimes when the other team is attacking, it isn’t easy for our team because we aren’t that strong physically.”
Marquez was particularly impressed with defender Akash Mishra’s performance. “We spoke to him about him making his Hero ISL debut. I think he’s very quiet while playing and has a very good mentality. For me, he will be one of the best left-backs in India very soon. I think he’s a very good left-back and he has to improve.”
Watch Manuel Marquez's Post-Match Press conference here:
Meanwhile, Odisha head coach Stuart Baxter refused to put the blame solely on the unsatisfactory pre-season on account of the ongoing pandemic. “I don’t think we got enough pre-season practice. I’m no different from the other coaches, we would all like to have had more time with our players. The fact that we were chasing the game, [that] gave way to frustration and that led to some ill-timed challenges,” he said.
It was defender Steven Taylor whose outstretched hand met the shot from Halicharan Narzary, leading to the penalty. Baxter admitted his captain was at fault and advised that he needed to be more careful in the future.
“He needs to be a bit more careful. I think it was a penalty. Just before that we gave the ball away and put Stevie in a bad position. He was trying to block, the ball hit his hand but technically it’s a penalty,” he said.
Watch Stuart Baxter's Post-Match Press conference here: