The tactician believes his team is more mature than before and will pose a tough challenge in the upcoming fixture.

Hyderabad FC travel to Kolkata to play ATK Mohun Bagan at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan on Monday, 13 March 2023. The first leg did not produce any goals between these two very equal teams. It was a close game with both sides pushing for a goal and cancelling each other out.

Manolo Marquez accepts that the result was positive for the Mariners as they are a strong side at home. Neither team has the advantage heading into the fixture but the home ground will play a role, according to the tactician. Having said that, he has belief in his players to perform under pressure. “The team is playing with a lot of personality,” the Spaniard said ahead of the fixture, suggesting that HFC are producing results despite losing several key players during the season.

Plenty of chances but no finished product

It is worth remembering that HFC finished second to secure a direct semi-final berth. The head coach and goalkeeper Anuj Singh spoke in the pre-match press conference. Here are the excerpts from the conversation:

Thoughts on the first leg and upcoming second leg

Manolo Marquez understands that the strategy of the opposition was to avoid a defeat away from home and that they are strong playing at home. He said in this context, “They came only with the idea of not losing the game and it is true that they had clear chances, two very clear chances but we had the control of the game. ATK Mohun Bagan is more different when they play at home.”

“When they play in Kolkata, they are comfortable and more confident. We know it will be a difficult game but as usual, we will have our chances for sure. We are a good team whether we play at home or away because we don’t change the style of the team too much,” the head coach further added. 

Will have chances

The head coach praised his players and described the squad as more mature than the previous season. He said, “We have the experience of the last season. We are a team that is more mature now. In this kind of game, for example, when we played against ATK Mohun Bagan in the second leg of last season, some players were scared. But now the team is playing with a lot of personality.”

“We will have our chances and they will also have theirs’s. Already this season is very, very good for us. But of course, we want more. We will try 100% to win the game,” a confident Manolo Marquez added.

Anuj Kumar on facing the Mariners

Hyderabad FC’s goalkeeper Anuj Kumar was also in attendance during the press conference and had his say in the context of facing a tough side like ATKMB in the upcoming game. He said, “It will be a good game. We have shown in the first leg that we are a good team and we are not depending on individual players. So it’s our strong point and we will go there and play a good game. It doesn’t change much because either we play home or away.”

Anuj Kumar has 142 minutes under his belt this season. He believes in the depth of the squad and that they can handle the pressure. Furthermore, the custodian agrees with Manolo Marquez that the team is in a better state ahead of the game due to last season’s experience. He concluded by saying, “Now the team is more confident. With more character, we don’t have that pressure.”

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