Hyderabad FC head coach Manuel Marquez is confident and optimistic in their abilities as they prepare to face ATK Mohun Bagan in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) at Athletic Stadium, Bambolim on Tuesday.

The current table toppers are going from strength to strength as they look to solidify their pole position. They have recorded a hat-trick of wins and have bagged 26 points already in 14 matches.

Ahead of Hyderabad FC’s match against ATK Mohun Bagan, coach Marquez addressed the media during the official pre-match press conference.

Here are the excerpts from the press conference.

How do you plan to approach against ATK Mohun Bagan?

When ATK Mohun Bagan have the ball, we have to defend the ball well. And when we recover the ball, we have to know what to do with the ball. They have a very good team in practically all the positions. They are very strong in the build-up. They are strong in set-pieces. They are the current runners up in the competition, it will be a very difficult game.

How do you keep your players grounded as the race to qualification tightens?

I am very happy when I hear these things but I heard two-three weeks ago that we are now fighting the top teams who have more budget and fans. There are traditions in these teams. It is very big, and we are fighting. We have to play six games and in these six games, we have to be on top. It will be very difficult to be a champion but it will also be difficult to qualify for top-four but we will try our best.

In a lot of games, small details decide the match. We are confident in ourselves, we are optimistic but we know we have six very difficult games.

How important was the week-long break after a packed schedule?

It is important because sometimes you have to play two strong teams in short periods of time. You have (play against) some best teams and the best thing is to adapt. You get time for recovery or the problems caused due to Covid, the players can then arrive (be match-fit).

Akash Mishra is now adding to his goals tally, and Aniket Jadhav amongst others is performing well. Is this the mentality you spoke about tactically evolving?

Young players in other teams, for example, Vikram Pratap Singh, for Mumbai and the other day Kiyan (Nassiri) for ATK Mohun Bagan. Every time, there are more young players for India. Our backs, if they are not the best they are one of the best in the left and right-wing but with the new rule of only four foreigners allowed, the young Indian players have more time.