A lot can be expected from the Spaniard in the upcoming Indian Super League season.

Hyderabad FC encountered a peculiar situation with respect to their new head coach in August. Albert Roca was set to take charge of the club for the upcoming Indian Super League season. However, FC Barcelona contacted the Spaniard to be a part of Ronald Koeman’s staff for the Catalans. The former Bengaluru FC tactician accepted the offer and Hyderabad replaced him with his cousin Manolo Marquez. The 52-year-old hails from Spain and is a seasoned head coach. He has plied his trade at several clubs in his 18-year-long managerial career.

Let us know more about the new boss of the Nizams.

Career in football

Manuel Marquez Roca grew up in Barcelona. He spent his youth career at Escolapios de Sarrià in the city. He operated as a defender but had a very brief playing career. Marquez’s senior career started with him joining CE Cerdenyola in 1987. He represented eight clubs from 1987-1999. The gaffer’s longest stint was at FC Martinenc from 1992-1995. Interestingly, he also turned up for CF Badalona and PB Anguera. These are clubs that Marquez went on to coach later on in his career. He hung his boots at the age of 28 in 1999. Recently, he had short coaching spells with NK Istra 1961 and Ratchaburi Mitr Phol. These clubs play in the top divisions of Croatian and Thai football leagues respectively.

What does he bring to the side?

Apparently, Hyderabad FC were looking for a like-to-like replacement for Albert Roca. They wanted someone who could replicate the philosophy that Roca was going to instill in the setup. Marquez has managed 12 different teams so far. He has attained varying degrees of success. Thus, Hyderabad’s aspiration to play a particular brand of football will not be disrupted by this appointment.

Why him?

Albert Roca did not leave the project in an ideal scenario. However, he played an instrumental role in aiding the club to choose his replacement. The club’s co-owner Varun Tripuraneni admitted, “It has been one of our top priorities to continue the good work that everyone has put in and we strongly believe that Manolo Marquez is the perfect choice to do that. He has the credentials and more importantly the experience to fit into our club. He has consistently proven himself at various levels and we expect a seamless transition.”

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Formation, Tactics, Style of Play

Marquez’s team will look to play out from the back, maintain possession and create numerous goalscoring opportunities. The coach has engaged in several cut-throat battles to secure promotions in his managerial career. Hence, he will ensure thorough preparation ahead of crucial encounters. This will allow Hyderabad to secure points against top clubs. It is an attribute that they missed last season.

The coach’s track record indicates that he insists on developing a robust defensive setup. However, he does not compromise his team’s offensive abilities for the same. The last time he spent an entire season at the helm of a club was for UD Las Palmas Atletico in 2016-17. They played in the fourth-tier of Spanish football that year. In 38 matches, the team maintained an astounding goal difference of +72. They scored 92 goals and conceded only 20.

However, the formation that he will choose at Hyderabad will be fascinating. The squad has a couple of top strikers in Aridane Santana and Francisco Sandaza. They also have the services of Joel Chianese. The Australian can be accommodated on the right flank. Lluis Sastre and Joao Victor will form the crux of the midfield. Nestor Gordillo can probably be slotted in behind the striker.

Subrata Paul joined the club in the summer. Asish Rai, Adil Khan, Sahil Panwar, Souvik Chakrabarti and Nikhil Poojary are the Indian defenders available to choose from the domestic contingent while another Spaniard Odei Onaindia, a robust centre-back, remains a vital option for Marquez. This will allow him to unleash the team’s complete attacking potential by playing most of his international stars in forward areas. Maybe, Santana and Sandaza can be rotated if the coach opts for a 4-2-3-1 formation. The dynamics of the team will be altered in midfield and at the back, if Marquez plays both the strikers.

Holicharan Narzary could operate from the left-wing. They also have some promising talents in Liston Colaco and Sweden Fernandes. Manolo Marquez can also arguably deploy a three-man defensive line. However, his squad does not seem to have many alternatives at the back currently. Paul’s presence in goal will be encouraging too. It will probably reduce the goals that Hyderabad conceded last season.

Overall, Manolo Marquez seems like someone who will keep a fine balance between his side’s offensive and defensive abilities. He will neither go all-out in attack. Nor will he park the bus and insist on playing on the counter-attack. Interesting days await Hyderabad FC in the coming season.

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