The tactician is aware of the qualities of his opposition and does not underestimate them.

Hyderabad FC’s next fixture is the toughest challenge for the side this season. A semi-final clash against ATK Mohun Bagan awaits the Nizams. The outfit is looking towards defending their ISL Trophy from last term. 

A difficult fixture across two legs against the Mariners stands between them and the final of the Indian Super League. Manolo Marquez is doing a fabulous job at Hyderabad FC. He took over the club when they were rock-bottom and made them champions. 

The head coach is aware of the challenges that the upcoming opponents will bring. He spoke to the media in a press conference ahead of the fixture and presented his views in an honest manner. Borja Herrera also took part in the interaction. Here are the excerpts from the conversation:

Replicating last season

Manolo Marquez insists that reaching the final is not unrealistic and the club will aim to replicate their feat from last season. “Every team that has reached the semi-final will try to reach the final, and we play the semi-final like we did last season. Let’s see if we get to qualify for the final of the Hero ISL the same as last season,” he said in this context.

“Last season, we had a very good campaign and had the chance to win the Shield. We had a bit of bad luck, but then we went on to win the Hero ISL title.

Anything can happen in the knockout rounds. ATK Mohun Bagan are in a better momentum but we are a very good team as well, and we are a very difficult team to beat,” he further said in the build-up to the first leg.

Expectations from the game

The tactician expects it to be a tight affair between two teams that do not concede a lot of goals. He said, “Theoretically it seems like that, even if you see the knockout games in the last few days, it was a tight game and we are the teams who conceded very few goals in the league stage.

But football is unpredictable so it may be a game with four or five goals. But theoretically not too many goals would be in the game.”

Support of the fans

Manolo Marquez understands that the aftermath of Covid-19 is preventing the fans from filling the stands. However, he expects them to turn out in huge numbers considering the importance of the fixture. He said, “It has to be practically full and I always repeat the same that we are very grateful to the people who are coming to the stadium.

If we want that football to grow in this city, Hyderabad FC needs to continue with this line and try to always arrive at the top level and fight for the titles,”

Borja Herrera on the experience in India

Borja Herrera’s first season in India with Hyderabad FC is heading to a strong conclusion. The midfielder settled easily into the team and became an important player immediately. Speaking on his experience thus far, Herrera said, “My experience is very good. I am very comfortable here in the team and in the city. In the club. Our team is like a family. You can see that on and off the pitch and training ground.”

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