Want to build on last season's success, not rest on it: Hyderabad FC coach Manolo Marquez

Hyderabad FC coach Manolo Marquez urged the team to be optimistic ahead of the upcoming Hero ISL 2021-22 season as his side faces Chennaiyin FC in their opening fixture of the campaign on November 23 at the Athletic stadium in Bambolim, Goa.

Hyderabad FC narrowly missed out on the semi-final spots last season, finishing fifth in the league but there were a lot of positives to be taken out of that campaign. Marquez has urged his players to carry the same kind of positivity into the new season.

The Nizams were unbeaten against Marina Machans last season but in terms of the overall head-to-head record, have won two and lost two against Chennaiyin FC.

Prior to their match against Chennaiyin FC on Tuesday, Hyderabad FC coach Manolo Marquez addressed the media during a pre-match press conference.

Here are the excerpts from the press conference:

What will be different for Hyderabad FC this season?

Difficult question, difficult answer. You have to be positive at all times, before the start of a pre-season and after the end of a season, you have to be optimistic. We can’t make the mistake of comparing everything with this season. Last season was fantastic, we had the feeling that we lost our big chance to arrive at the top four and now if you ask the 11 coaches of the ISL, the answer, more or less, will be the same. We have all the things. We have possibilities, we want to play good football, we want to continue with the development of our youngsters. We want to show our fans that we can repeat the football of last season with an even better improvement. I don’t want to speak about last season, sure there are lessons learned but I don’t want to speak about them. I want to speak about the future and development of these players because the difficult thing is not to arrive but to keep and continue with the same line of last season.

What are Hyderabad FC’s chances this season?

We want to win every game, but the opponent wants to win it too. If you remember last season, we played a lot of draws against teams in the top half of the table. It’s very difficult to win a game in the ISL, you win a game against Odisha, who are last in the table, and then you’re up against Mumbai and ATKMB, the champions and the runners-up (respectively), both difficult teams to beat. You have to work through the odds to win the match which means that the competition is equal and fine. We are looking forward to beating Chennai who are a good team and had a good pre-season.

What impact will Ogbeche have on this Hyderabad team?

Ogbeche is the third top scorer in the ISL in three years, playing for three different teams and was championed with Mumbai last season. We hope he continues with the same form as he’s an exceptionally good player in this competition, he even played in a World Cup. He’s a top signing for Hyderabad this season.

How important is the new four foreign player rule for Indian players?

I would like to say that last season we felt that a lot of people wanted Hyderabad to win their games because we played with several young Indian players. I think this year a lot of teams, not only because of the rule of four foreign players, have many young Indian players in their squad and some of them have a promising future ahead of them. Even the Under-23 Indian national team played immensely well in the last tournament, qualifying for the Asian Cup. We have to continue improving the performance of Indian youngsters in every training session with the development. And that is the same for all the teams, there are various teams with talented young players. We play, for instance, against Mumbai, they sign promising young players, we play against Odisha, they now have quality Indian players, the same with NorthEast, even in the squad of Goa there are very good young players. Of course, with the addition of one more Indian player in the lineup, the level will surely improve.

What difference can Rohit Danu bring to the Hyderabad side?

At the end of last season, I spoke about Rohit Danu being an important player this season. At 19 years old, he has played in difficult offensive positions. He’s a smart player who’ll undoubtedly be an important player in the future of Indian football.

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