We can make difference with the quality of Indian players in our squad: Hyderabad FC’s Manuel Marquez

Hyderabad FC head coach Manuel Marquez urged his team to be focused on the pitch while also stressing on the need for improvement as his side faces NorthEast United FC on matchday 28 of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 season on Monday at the Athletic Stadium in Bambolim, Goa.

Marquez cautioned his players ahead of a challenging game against NorthEast United and wants them to not get carried away with the team's recent results. With some of the most talented young players in the Hero ISL at hisdisposal, Marquez also stated that there is immense scope for the improvement for the youngsters.

Ahead of their clash with NorthEast United FC, Manuel Marquez addressed the media during a pre-match press conference.

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

NorthEast United FC are not in the best run of form. So, what is your assessment of them?

I disagree that they are in their worst run of form. They played a quality game in some moments. I don’t think they deserved to lose against Odisha. Regarding my team, as I always say, every team will be difficult, every team can beat their opponent.

I’m sure that Monday’s game will be a difficult one for both sides. The style of NorthEast United is good, they have quality foreign players, and the Indian players are very disciplined too.

It was Hyderabad FC’s first clean sheet of the season, and their first win over Bengaluru FC in the Hero ISL. What are your views on it?

Yes, it’s good for us to win and keep a clean sheet, it was important. We had a good first half, and in the second half, we had more problems because Bengaluru FC tried to equalise the game, they attacked with a lot of players in the last 20 minutes of the match, but I think we deserved the three points.

How do Hyderabad FC’s foreign players stand out from other club’s foreign players?

We’re happy with all the players, all the foreign players. I don’t know about the opinion of the other coaches, but the difference lies in the Indian players because you have to play at least seven Indian players and it matters. If you have a top scorer like Angulo [Igor] or Krishna [Roy], it’s a great asset for the team.

But for me, at this moment, the difference is the quality of the Indian players. Of course, it’s a learning stage and there are and will be a lot of mistakes but like everything in life, you have to learn about this, and I think several players will improve after this season. I repeat, I am delighted with our foreign players, but the key lies in the Indian players.

Before joining Hyderabad FC, Laxmikant Kattimani was heavily criticised. How did you improve his confidence and performance after going through a rough patch?

Last season, I answered a similar question. I know that he was criticised because he played some important games and his performance was not up to the mark, but in our style of play he is a quality goalkeeper because when we play far off the box, he is a goalkeeper who can play out of the box and has excellent communication.

Obviously, he can do better, be the likes of Gurpreet [Singh Sandhu], or Amrinder [Singh]. But all goalkeepers make mistakes, and if a goalkeeper makes a mistake, most of the time, a goal is conceded, but Kattimani is a quality goalkeeper and suits our style of play.

Youngsters like Rohit Danu, Akash Mishra among others are all picking up their game in every single round. Can we see more such amazing contributions from young Indian players in the coming matches?

It is difficult because we’re playing Akash, Danu, Hitesh [Sharma], Sana [Chinglensana Singh] and all of them are below 24. We have several young players, many of which will be even better in the future, but you cannot play with 11 young players, they have to play with experienced players beside them and I believe this mix of players is significant for our team.

How has the mentality of the younger players been improving in the aspect of revealing their character on the field?

It’s not just about Indian players but it’s more about the team. I’ve trained various young teams and B teams, and some players are more mature than other players. One player is mature when is 18 whereas the other player matures when he’s 22 and this depends heavily on the character of the player.

If you don’t have a strong mentality, you can only play one or two seasons but in the end, you won’t arrive at the top level. This is one thing that we have to work on, and I think that several young players in ISL are improving in mentality.

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