Hyderabad FC head coach Manolo Marquez urged his side to bounce back stronger as they went down to Kerala Blasters FC in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL), at the G.M.C. Balayogi Athletic Stadium, in Hyderabad, on Saturday in the Hero Indian Super League 2022-23. Dimitrios Diamantakos' goal proved to be the difference as Hyderabad FC slumped to their first defeat of the season.  

The defending Hero ISL champions had recorded four straight 1-0 victories, but Marquez's team found themselves on the wrong side of the result against the Blasters. Hyderabad FC still continue to top the standings despite the result, placed one point above Mumbai City FC.

Marquez said his team deserved a point against Kerala Blasters for the way they played in the second half. The HFC gaffer also mentioned that his team is defending well, but said they needed to up their attacking game to get back on track.

Here are the excerpts from Marquez's post-match press conference:

To begin with the first defeat of the season, do you think it was a case of missed chances for HFC?

In the second-half obviously we had two clear chances through Joel (Chianese) when he was in front of (Prabhsukhan) Gill and Joao Victor (during the last moments), but I am very satisfied with the second-half. The team arrived right side and left side with good crosses with good actions, they (Kerala Blasters FC) defended with a lot of order. But I am very disappointed with our first-half performance. I think that the team didn't surpass in any moment. 

(With a 4-4-2 formation), Kerala Blasters FC was preparing for our mistake and they did it and they won with a good goal. We played better than in some games in the second-half, not in the first half. But I have a lot of experience in football. This is the reason, for example, that I told that there are big teams, that they don't lose these kinds of games. Aaron (D'Silva) had a clear chance, but he missed the control in the last minute. But we are very happy with Aaron and how he trained and his performance.  You can't win every game. You can't avoid the one defeat and then we have to come back stronger, we know that we have another big game next weekend.

Unfortunately you lost today, but even when you won, the majority of the games were 1-0 wins. So is it a cause of concern for you that the team is not able to score or put the game to bed or not able to score more than a goal in the recent games and how happy are you with the attacking performance of the team?

You know that in football, everyone can be right. Now if we win 1-0, the question is why we didn't score more goals. If we win 4-3, then it would be about why we conceded three goals. We tried to score goals. Even the other day in the Jamshedpur FC game, we scored the first goal and we had very clear chances to score the second and the third, but we didn't get (the goal) and we won the last four games by a 1-0 score line. Yet, today, we didn't score.

In my three seasons here, the teams are very different. In the first season was more like this year with more possession play, to the other side (switching sides) play with wingers. Last season, the team was very clinical. We killed the opponents with not too much chances and now, the team is defending and defending very good, but it's true that maybe we need something more in attack. In the second half, I am very satisfied because at least we tried. In the first half, we were only positional without movements and then it's easy for one team who is with ten players behind the wall to defend. This is the most difficult in football when you play against one team with a very good positioning, have ten players behind the ball and repeat with a lot of other.

This is the third 1-0 loss for Hyderabad FC including the Durand Cup. One was against Army Red, then Bengaluru FC and now this one. Do you think that is the strategy of the team that gets an early goal in the first half to then drop down and defend with ten men?

The situation after 30 minutes was similar today compared to when we faced Bengaluru FC in the Durand Cup. I think it's a coincidence, but maybe we don't know. The thing that is very obvious is that the style of the team is different, the style of the players is different. And maybe we had more players invest in better shape last season, but we can't demand too much from this team as of now we are top of the table after seven games. We lost today and this is part of the sport. You can win, draw or lose and today, in my opinion, (the result) was not fair. A draw was a fair score for me, but it is true and when the opponent scores (first), it is always more difficult. But don't forget that last season in nine games, where the opponents scored before us; and in this season, the same with Mumbai City FC, and in the Durand Cup against Chennaiyin FC we were losing 0-1 and we won 3-1. Sometimes, the team gets (a chance) to score and sometimes it is not possible.