Won the game because we played through our style: HFC head coach Manolo Marquez

Hyderabad FC head coach Manolo Marquez lauded his players' commitment to his playing style as his side overcame Bengaluru FC in a narrow 1-0 victory in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) at the G.M.C Balayogi Athletic Stadium, in Hyderabad, on Saturday.

Bartholomew Ogbeche’s late strike made the difference for Hyderabad FC in a tight affair between the two sides. The Yellow and Blacks clinched their first home win of the Hero ISL 2022-23 season and now see themselves on top of the table after three games.

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Playing his first-ever game at the home turf of Hyderabad FC, Marquez was extremely delighted to see his side scrape past a victory and wants his side to continue their winning momentum to get numerous supporters in the stadium to cheer for his side. He also warned his side to not get too ahead of themselves after being on top of the table, unbeaten in three games.

The Spaniard attended the official post-match press conference.

Here are the excerpts from his press conference:

First game in Hyderabad FC after a long time and you won 1-0. What are your immediate thoughts on the game?

Obviously, it was really good to have won this game. It was not only my first time in the stadium but also several players’ first time. Let’s see if we get more people for the next game because after all more people will come to the stadium if they see the team continue winning (momentum).The feeling is incredibly good because we won the game.

I am very happy because in the second half, Hyderabad played like Hyderabad. In the first half, practically speaking, Bengaluru played far better than us. In the second half, it was clear that Hyderabad dominated the game. Bengaluru FC defended very well with extremely good players, but finally we opened the scoring, and I think if you look at all the chances in the game, this is a fair score.

Simon Grayson (head coach of BFC) said that whilst having possession, they were lacking the progression you had. So, do you think that is where you won the game?

Yes. In the first half, more or less, we started the game okay, but there was one moment with the long balls, there was a lot of distance between the defenders and the forwards. Hitesh (Sharma) and Joao (Victor) - only two players, four midfielders is impossible (to attack) in their half of the pitch. By half-time we could’ve won, lost, or drawn, but we stuck to one style, our style and this is the reason why we were champions as we played two seasons in this style.

If we don’t play in our style it is difficult, maybe we can add one aspect to it, but I am very satisfied (with the win) because the players understood the message. The second half, we played through our style, had possession, created chances, won the game, and it was not easy. If you look at the games played by Bengaluru FC, their opponent teams didn’t get to create too many chances against them, but this 1-0 score is very good for us. Now, we have only played three games, and I think our league is very competitive. I don’t know at what position we will finish but the thing I know is that our team is very competitive.

With your style of pressing and attack, do you think the absence of Roy Krishna benefited your playing style tonight?

When you don’t have a player and you lose, you will always remember that player. All of us know how dangerous of a player Roy Krishna is. He scored against us in the last two semi-finals, in the first leg and the second leg. He’s one of the top scorers in the Hero ISL, but he is not our player.

They were already dangerous with Sunil (Chhetri), Sivasakthi (Narayanan), Javi (Javier Hernandez). And I repeat, in the first half, I was not happy with the performance of my team but in the second half, I think we played better because there is one thing that it is difficult to play when the opponent plays 10 men behind the ball, and more or less, we got to create chances and win the game.

You brought in Borja Herrera late in the game tonight. Was this a plan just for tonight or for the rest of the season?

No, this was the plan for tonight. We spoke with the minutes of the substitutions, but at that moment, the team was playing well. Halicharan Narazary didn’t score but he had two clear chances, even Hitesh (Sharma) had a good game. He lost two dangerous balls in the first half but in the second half, he was playing very well. When we are tired, we have to try something new, and Borja is a player whom I have known since 7-8 years during my time at Las Palmas in LaLiga. He is a player that possesses a lot of quality and I think that he will play several minutes this season.

Unbeaten so far and now a clean sheet. What is it that you are going to tell the boys? 

This is dangerous for the next game. No, because I even told the players after four games in the last two seasons. After three games in the first season, we had five points, and in the second season, we lost the first game against Chennaiyin FC, won against Mumbai City FC, and drew the next game against Jamshedpur FC. Now, we have seven points from three games and people will think we can win every game but you know how difficult it is.

I think several games have shown how difficult it is to win games in the Hero ISL. We have another great game against another great team in Carlos Pena’s FC Goa, who will definitely be a great coach in the future because he was very clever while playing football. Let’s see, now we are seven points and top of the table after three games, but I repeat, even if you win, draw, or lose the next game, there is another training session and we have to continue (training) because this is a very long season.       

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