Hyderabad FC head coach Thangboi Singto felt fortunate as they secured a point against NorthEast United FC, coming back from 1-0 down in Matchweek 9 of the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 season at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati on Sunday.

Hyderabad FC extended their winless run as they secured a point against NorthEast United FC. The Highlanders had taken the lead early in the 8th minute through an own goal from Hyderabad FC defender Nim Dorjee Tamang. Just before the halftime whistle, Finnish midfielder Petteri Pennanen scored his first ISL goal, bringing the two teams back on level terms and concluding the match 1-1.

The head coach feels that in the first half, his team could have conceded more goals than they did. It was luck that saved them, but he is proud of how his boys played in the second half.

“In football you need luck. First half we were lucky. Otherwise, we could have conceded maybe two, or three goals. It hit the post twice, thrice, I can't remember. And of course, NorthEast United FC are a strong team, they have experienced foreigners and (their) Indian players have been in the ISL for a long period. So, we are very proud of our boys in the second half and the way we came back. I think it was a game of maybe both teams who could have won, first half to them, second half to us, probably,” Singto stated in the post-match press conference.

Hyderabad FC are now winless in nine matches, with only four draws this season. The Manipuri tactician talked about the positives to take away as their quest for the first win of the season continues. The head coach spoke highly of the work rate demonstrated by his players and the goal scored by Pennanen.

“I think, great, physical work by Joe (Knowles) and (Mohammad) Yasir, and the young boys who came in and of course, Pete. What a great goal – gritty, hard-driven, and well-earned! So those are the positives we take and we go back, take a breather for a moment, and keep on going. I think that's all we can do as coaches and as players. But today, we are very proud of the boys.”

In addressing their poor start to the game, the 49-year-old didn't want to pinpoint anyone and wished for his team to build themselves up better.

“See, I don't want to be critical. I understand that some of the players are coming back after 4 or 5 matches. So I don't want to pinpoint anybody. I think we have to give them time. We have to give them that confidence and assurance that, hey, you keep on doing well, you'll get your chances. So we want to go in that positive way because we have a lot of youngsters in the team at the moment. So for us, it's about building,” he shared.

Hyderabad FC will next take on Odisha FC. Sharing his approach going forward for the next match, Singto acknowledges the strength of the Kalinga Warriors but doesn't want to dwell too much on the opposition.

“Odisha, a strong team. If you look at the foreigners. They have two great strikers who have a good pedigree in ISL, (Diego) Mauricio and Roy Krishna. They have Carlos Delgado in the back and one of the best goalkeepers in India, Amrinder (Singh). But like I said, we would rather focus on ourselves, on the areas we need to improve than worry too much. Let’s see what happens on the field,” he commented.