The Nizams’ boss revealed what changed in the second half to improve the team’s performance.

Manolo Marquez and his Hyderabad FC came from behind to beat ATK Mohun Bagan in the first leg of the second semi-finals of the ISL. After going down 1-0 early in the first half to Roy Krishna’s goal, experienced Nigerian striker Bartholomew Ogbeche inspired the Nizams to a 3-1 victory.

Manolo Marquez met with the media to discuss what he expects in the second leg from his team.

Hyderabad FC 3-1 ATK Mohun Bagan Post-Match Press Conference

Have to play better

Liston Colaco and his fellow teammates beat the Hyderabad FC defence for pace. Roy Krishna’s goal was the result of a quick play in transition by ATK Mohun Bagan. Hyderabad took time to adapt to ATKMB’s play, and Manolo Marquez expects better from his team in the second leg.

“It’s true that now it is 3-1 for us. But, there is a second leg, 90 minutes more against a team with good players. If you look at the bench of ATK, maybe you get scared, a lot of international and good players. We have 90 minutes to play, but not in the same way. Because in the first half, we didn’t play a good game. In the second half, we were very good,and we were clinical at set-pieces,” the Hyderabad FC head coach noted.

The city of Hyderabad needs this win

In the short history of Hyderabad FC, they never finished as high as second in the league phase until this season. Now, when the team are on the verge of achieving special things, Manolo Marquez wants to remember for whom they are doing it.

“I think that we are in a historical season for Hyderabad. We finished second in the regular season. Let’s see what happens in the second leg. But, at least we won one game in the semi-finals. Let’s see if we can qualify for the final. It would be an incredible success, not for the team but the fans and the city as well. I think Hyderbad as a city needs one thing like this,” Manolo Marquez quipped.

Positioning is key

Marquez explained what he had to fix to make this team work. In the absence of Australian Joel Chianese, the team decided to play with just two forwards instead of the traditional three. The change saw a lot of space left between the midfielders and forwards and the head coach had to help the forwards fix their positioning.

“We don’t have Joel Chianese (injured). Then we decided to play with Bartholomew Ogbeche and Javier Siverio. At the beginning of the season, the position wasn’t good. There was too much space between the midfield and the forwards. But, when Bartholomew Ogbeche and Javier Siverio recovered their positions, we played good in some moments and very good in some moments. I think that the most important thing in the team is that when we didn’t play a good game, more or less the positioning saved our performance,” the 53-year-old explained.

Updates on situation of Asish Rai

Asish Rai is missing these games for Hyderabad FC owing to COVID. Like most of the ISL teams, Hyderabad FC had to deal with a virus outbreak in their camp and the Indian international is the 29th member to have or had the virus at some point of the season.

When questioned if Rai can make it to the second leg, Marquez answered, “He’s out with COVID. Still with COVID and in the bubble. Asish is the 29th member of the squad who had or has COVID. I don’t think he can recover for the second leg.”

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