The tactician reflected upon a crucial upcoming game that could make or break their playoffs chances.

Hyderabad FC will face SC East Bengal in their next Indian Super League 2020-21 fixture. The team are right in the middle of one of the tightest races for top four places, with only a handful matches left to be played. Speaking ahead of the game, the Nizams’ head coach Manolo Marquez talked about several things, including the two-year contract extension he recently signed with the club.

Contract Extension

Speaking in context of extending his stay at Hyderabad FC and what compelled him to do so, Manolo Marquez said, “I am very happy at Hyderabad FC. As we all know, this is not a normal season. We are in the bubble and it’s hard for all of us. When I spoke with Varun (Tripuraneni), the owner, he explained the project very well to me for the next season.

“The thing that I like about Hyderabad is that they are thinking long-term. If you ask me what is the goal or the aim, then it is to play good football, continue with the development of the players. To me, winning is most important of course. Not only how you win, but how people feel, the players feel and how they have to play,” the tactician further added.

Trust in youngsters

One of the most notable feats achieved by Manolo Marquez is the success on the back of putting faith in young Indian players. When asked about how he plans to continue trusting the youth in future, he said, “Plan is to continue with these players. There are more players in this squad with a lot of possibilities, but…finally I decide who plays or does not play. They improve because they train very hard everyday with a fantastic attitude.”

Chances of playoffs qualification

With Jamshedpur FC’s narrow win over Chennaiyin FC, the race for the top four has become even more interesting. Speaking in this context, the Spaniard said, “If the team that is sixth on the table 4-5 points behind you finally arrives at the same points as you, then you don’t deserve to arrive in the top four. But, I think Hyderabad at the end of the season will be above Jamshedpur.”

The 52-year-old also presented his views about the need to win rest of the games if they are to secure playoffs qualification. “If we win all four games, then for sure we are in the top four. But. if we win three and one of those is against Goa, then we will be in the top four too. We have to win tomorrow against East Bengal and for sure it is a difficult game.”

A word on Laxmikant Kattimani

Manolo Marquez also praised his custodian who kept a clean-sheet in the last fixture. He said, “(Laxmikant) Kattimani for me is one of the best goalkeepers in India. Sometimes, what you need is confidence and in this moment, Kattimani has the confidence.”

Plan to stop Bright Enobakhare

Lastly, the tactician also answered the question about SCEB’s most influential player Bright Enobakhare and what HFC need to do to stop him. “It’s very difficult to stop him. Maybe we can put one man very close to him, but I think that the team who defended better against Bright was Bengaluru. If he has a good day, it’s difficult to stop him. But, if we only think about Bright, I think we’d be wrong because they have a lot of very good players,” concluded Manolo Marquez.

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