Hyderabad FC head coach Manolo Marquez expressed that the team needs to go step by step and game by game in order to finish in the top two in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 season as he prepares his team to face Bengaluru FC in the matchweek 12 at Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru.

The Spaniard mentioned that he's surprised to see the position of Bengaluru FC in the points table especially with the team comprising quality players like Sunil Chettri, Roy Krishna, and Javi Hernandez and how strong they are on their strength on set pieces.

Hyderabad FC will look to start the second half of the season with a victory which will take them a point ahead of current league leaders Mumbai City FC, meanwhile, Bengaluru FC would look to push for the playoff spots while looking for their third victory in five matches.

Speaking at the pre-match conference, Marquez was accompanied by the defender Nim Dorjee Tamang, Marquez talked about the team's target to finish in the top two, how teams have racked up more points at the halfway stage than the last season because of the attacking football, how Bengaluru FC is finally settling in their style of play and more.

Here are the excerpts from Marquez's press conference:

The team is back in action after a break in MW 11. How excited are the players and how's the preparation against Bengaluru FC?

Marquez: We start the second leg now and all the teams are in the middle of the competition with 10 matches. More or less there are six teams with a similar number of points. We don't have matches now to fail, for example, we play against BFC now and for them, it's mandatory to win. They are eight points below the top six, a draw is not enough. We are sure we will find a very strong side in front of us with very good players. I'm very surprised with the position of BFC on the points table. we had a very good first leg for our team in the first 10 matches but the second leg will be very hard.

Hyderabad FC finished in the second spot after the first half. How do you assess the performance of the team in the first phase and what are you expecting in the second leg?

Marquez: I expect to win every game. We need to go step by step and game by game and let's see what happens because now you look at the table we are behind Mumbai City FC by just two points but FC Goa are at sixth with 18 points. There are four points between the second and sixth place. This year it's important to finish in the top two because it can't be our excuse if we finish third or fourth and then say "oh now we have to play one game and you've to play the whole season in those 90 minutes". 

When we compare from last season, most of the teams have more points at the halfway mark as compared to last year. What do you think has changed?

Marquez: The answer is very easy. In the last 30 games, there have been only two draws, a 2-2 draw between Mumbai City FC and ATK Mohun Bagan and a 0-0 draw between Odisha FC and ATK Mohun Bagan, then there's more difference between the top six teams as Chennaiyin FC is in the middle trying to arrive. The last four teams I think Bengaluru FC, East Bengal FC, Jamshedpur FC and NorthEast United FC don't have enough points and when something like this happens in the competition usually the teams on top have more points, this is the explanation. No draws mean more points for the teams.

As you mentioned Bengaluru FC have struggled this season but they have won twice in the last four games so what kind of a game are you expecting against Bengaluru FC?

Marquez: They (Bengaluru FC) are a very good team, they have a lot of international players in the Indian national team. They have Roy Krishna and Javi Hernandez and now they signed Pablo Perez, a very good player. They have good centre backs Aleksandar Jovanovic and if we speak about the Indian players, I'm sure we know all of them. It's true that they were changing the system, playing with four or playing with five but I think that now they are again playing with a similar system as Durand Cup when they became the champions and the other day, they won, they deserved to win against Jamshedpur FC and it'll be a tough game, it'll be a tough game for both sides.

Bengaluru FC has scored the least amount of goals while Hyderabad FC have the best defensive record in the league. Do you think the match will be decided by a goal or we can expect a high-scoring game?

Marquez: This is what I was thinking about, we only conceded six goals and they have scored seven then in your mind you'll think that maybe this game is a 0-0 or one goal will decide the game. In fact, in the Durand Cup, they won 1-0 and in Hero ISL we won 1-0 but you never know. I think Kerala Blasters FC is another team who conceded goals against Bengaluru FC and they won 3-2 against Bengaluru FC. One day I hope they score but not on Friday. This is a team playing with Roy Krishna, Sunil Chettri, Javi Hernandez and Danish Farooq, players who are arriving constantly in the box and they are very dangerous in set pieces with very tall players and very good headers of the ball. One day, they will start to score goals.

Here are the excerpts from Nim Dorjee's pre-match conference:

In the last match, you played your match. How are the team's preparations for the clash?

Nim Dorjee: The preparations are going well and we are ready to fight for the team.

What kind of game are you expecting against Bengaluru FC?

Nim Dorjee: We know their game style and we have to defend accordingly. We will play according to our head coach's plan.

As you play as a defender, which players would you be keeping an eye on and be careful with?

Nim Dorjee: We will have to be careful of Roy Krishna and Sunil Chettri.