Hyderabad FC head coach Thangboi Singto urged his team to give their utmost effort as they prepare to face Kerala Blasters FC in their final Indian Super League (ISL) fixture at the GMC Balayogi Athletic Stadium in Hyderabad on Friday.

This season has been a disappointing one for Hyderabad FC in their ISL history, with just one victory from 21 league matches and a total of eight points, placing them at the bottom of the points table in the 12th position. Notably, they have had to rely on a young squad in the latter half of the season due to the departure of key players during the January transfer window.

In contrast, Kerala Blasters FC, under the guidance of head coach Ivan Vukomanovic, have already secured their place in the playoffs. Currently occupying the fifth position in the league standings, they have accumulated nine wins, three draws, and 30 points from 21 matches.

Singto, who assumed the role of Hyderabad FC head coach at the beginning of the season, reflected on the team's learnings and experiences from the ongoing campaign.

"I would say definitely as a club, when you start a season you definitely want to progress further as much as you can. But this year I think we had a lot of challenges and it was a test of great character, a test of a team. So for me personally, I think we learned a lot of things. I've learned (too), hopefully we can take it forward," he said during the pre-match press conference.

In their recent league fixture away from home, Hyderabad FC endured a significant setback, succumbing to a heavy defeat against FC Goa with a 0-4 scoreline. This loss marked their 15th defeat of the season. Reflecting on the previous game, Singto said: "I wouldn't say it was a very bad performance but in terms of the goals we conceded, I think no one is happy, the team, the players, the staff because we knew that FC Goa is a very strong team but conceding four goals was really really annoying. It was very difficult to after the game, was very difficult. Now the only thing we can do is whatever is on our hand in the last match and that too at home," he added.

Singto offered his analysis of their upcoming opponents, Kerala Blasters FC, highlighting their mentality to fight for three points despite being out of the playoff race.

"Well in terms of our preparation, in terms of our mental approach, physical approach, even the social thinking, I think we have to give it all. We don't have the choice. We play a team that has already qualified for the sixth spot. It's always good because Kerala (Blasters FC) is a team with a lot of fame and fervor as a club whether it's their team or supporters. So I believe a good chunk of Manjappada will be here and will be ready," he stated.

"So this game will hopefully you know help us deal better in the coming season. So it is as important as the first match we played in ISL at the beginning of the season. This is for us all as a team, the fans, the owners, the players the staff, it's very important," he added.

Hyderabad FC's head coach shared his admiration for the team's unwavering and courageous performances, even amidst challenging times for the club. The team secured a remarkable victory against Chennaiyin FC back in March, which stands as their sole triumph this season.

This win holds significant historical value as Hyderabad FC became the first ISL team to secure a victory with an all-Indian starting eleven.

"We're a bunch of young players and staff, we have done as much as we could have done. I think there is a limit for everything and in spite of trying our best in the pitch, in terms of getting the message across in one-to-one or group meetings. I think it was more of, you know, climbing the hill and that was there and that was just a downfall...So now for us, this is last night, we just have to stick there for the last match, just for pride, for the badge, for the honor, not only for the fans but for the club owners as well," he said.

He continued, "I would like to mention also, the players and the staff will stick together. We can only stick together like this because of the owners. So I think credit has to go to owners also, because we just want to make it a happy ending, in terms of performance as well for the future."

Will be tough against Kerala Blasters but of course, we can win: Vanlalrinchhana  

Midfielder Aron Vanlalrinchhana accompanied head coach Thangboi Singto during their pre-match press conference ahead of their final fixture against Kerala Blasters FC. 

The Mizoram native is among the youngsters from Hyderabad FC's squad that has made his ISL debut this season. He has made nine appearances so far for his club, many of which came in as a substitute under coach Singto. Vanlalrinchhana was asked to share his thoughts going into the last game of the season.

"First of all thank you (to the club) for giving me the opportunity, for me everything," he said in the pre-match press conference. 

"Kerala Blasters FC are a good team. They're already qualified but I think they will be tough but of course, we can win the match," he further said. 

The 20-year-old offered a glimpse of his experience so far with the senior team of Hyderabad FC and what was it like playing in the nation's top-tier league.

"This has been for the first time in my lifetime (being part of the first team) and this (experience) was amazing, I'm happy with the club," he responded.