Need to be clinical in attack and create more opportunities: Hyderabad FC’s Manuel Marquez

After the defeat against Chennaiyin FC, Hyderabad FC coach Manuel Marquez is optimistic about his side’s chances and urged them to play their brand of football as they battle reigning champions Mumbai City FC in their second game of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 season on Saturday at the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in Fatorda, Goa.

Marquez praised Mumbai City FC’s head coach, Des Buckingham’s style of play and admired his tactical gameplan. However, the 53-year-old hasn’t yet tasted victory against the current champions, something which he will be hoping to change on Saturday.

The Hyderabad FC manager addressed the media during a pre-match press conference.

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

Hyderabad FC have not won any of their last four matches in the last two seasons against Mumbai City FC. How crucial do you think the game is and how is the team preparing for it?

I was present only in the last two games in the last season and we are speaking about not the former champions but the current champions. They had and they have a much stronger team than just about four matches because we didn't lose four matches to another team.

This encounter is the second game of the season, we lost the first one and obviously we want to win this game and we know it’s a difficult game. The team is preparing like they always do but unfortunately because of Covid-19, you play too many games, there are few days for rest and to prepare for the next game. We are optimistic after our first game despite the defeat.

How do you assess Mumbai City FC’s start to the season?

It’s always better to start the season with a victory, like last season where we won our first game against Odisha but sometimes football is like this. More or less, all of us agree that we didn’t deserve to lose the first game, but this is football and now we’re playing a very strong team. Mumbai were excellent against FC Goa; they played a good game.

As I said before, all 20 games are going to be difficult, we have chances to win, and we also have chances of being last in the table. Obviously, it’s one game and we want to win it but even if we lose the second game, there are 18 more games to be played, but we are prepared to win this one. 

Hyderabad FC created several chances throughout the game but failed to convert it. How do you tackle such an issue and what are the areas of improvement that you’re looking at?

We had more chances than Chennai, we had more possession of the ball, but I agree with this question. We need to arrive with more players in the box and to be more clinical in the action that we have because sometimes only Bart [Bartholomew Ogbeche] and one of the wingers arrived in the box.

We're doing very well, but we need to improve in this area. We wanted to play good football but to play good football is not to take the ball, pass it and have 65% of the possession. We need to create more spaces; and the injury of Hali [Halicharan Narzary] was important for our team too, to improve in these kinds of situations.

How do you look at the challenge Mumbai City FC is posing and what formation will you manage for Saturday’s match? Can we expect some more debuts?

They would, for sure, one of them would. It would not be the same line-up because Hali is injured, but we know perfectly that we play against a tough team. They have a lot of different aspects in the win, in the game.

They know how to manage themselves in different situations, in transitions, they are very strong in set-pieces, and they play very well in open play. I like the attitude of the new coach because he’s always speaking very strangely in football terms. If you watched the first game, you saw a lot of different details in this Mumbai than last season’s Mumbai.

Mumbai City FC has a similar style of playing to Hyderabad in terms of keeping the ball and an attacking brand of football. So, how does it impact your side's approach to that particular game?

I like this style of play, but I prefer to play with the ball. I respect all the styles, but it’s true they want to keep the ball higher, and when they have the ball, we need to be compact and have good positioning. When we have the ball, they make a very high press and we have to avoid this high press and try to combine, because if we play long balls, it’s impossible for the style of our players.

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