Phil Brown: Looking forward to locking horns with Habas

Hyderabad FC welcome ATK FC at the GMC Balayogi Athletic Stadium in Hyderabad for their Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 encounter on Saturday. Hyderabad find themselves at the bottom of the points table while ATK will look to bounce back from a defeat against FC Goa and snatch top spot.

Speaking at the pre-match press conference, Hyderabad head coach Phil Brown addressed his club’s position on the league table, “Well, we are concerned about where we are on the league table. We are hoping that we can do something about it in the second half of the season. As any coach would tell you, once you got your best players on the pitch and you’re losing games, then you have only yourself to blame. Now that I have my best players available, hopefully, the second half of the season will be more positive than the first half.”

The Englishman went on to share his views on opponents ATK and their attacking prowess, “I think by the time you reach the halfway point of a season, every player has an identity, a style of playing and as a coach, we need to understand that. If you look at the possession that ATK has had through the season, its less than 50%. That’s in all games. That suggests that we are going to have a lot of the ball or some of the ball, that’s for sure. When we do have the ball, we need to cause ATK a lot of problems. But, I’m looking forward to locking horns with Antonio Habas (ATK head coach).”

He further continued, “If we go back to the game where we lost 5-0 to ATK, I had three guys who were badly hurt, and I think we were humiliated that day. As a coach, I don’t want that to happen again. And if you ask anyone from my team, they will tell you that they feel exactly the same way. That is why we enjoy playing football, we never want to be humiliated. We are a much better team now. We just need to use the ball better.”

Hyderabad were close to a comeback against Odisha FC in their previous match but ended a goal short. When asked how he was going to counter that, the 60-year-old said, “Against Odisha, we scored a couple of goals. Even when we were 2-0 down, we were always in the game. I believe we are still pulling together in the right direction, but we need that little bit of luck. We need to get in front early. I think we need to put out a team that can express themselves and I believe we can field such a team against ATK. But until we get that win, I cannot say that we will aggressively fight in the second half of the season.”

Brown was joined by Nestor Jesus Benitez, who was sidelined till date due to an injury. On being asked how he was looking forward to making his Hero ISL debut, the Spanish midfielder said, “After a long break, I cannot wait to start a game for the team. If I get selected, I want to make a difference and help the team do better in the second half of the season.”

Read the Match Preview here.

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