Hyderabad FC will kick-start their Indian Super League (ISL) 2020-21 campaign against Odisha FC at the GMC stadium in Bambolim on Monday. But before that, the Nizams’ head coach Manolo Marquez addressed the media where he spoke about managing his squad amidst a congested fixture list, his plans for Odisha and much more. The following are the excerpts from the press conference.
On the importance of the first game after a curtailed pre-season
Winning the first game is extremely important. Although, given a choice, I would take a loss in the first game if it meant winning the remaining 19. It is crucial to start on the front-foot and start executing our plans from the very first day. Overall, this season’s ISL will be tough and very difficult to predict because all the teams have similar problems and similar standards of players.
On giving the younger players a chance
We have a lot of promising youngsters in the side. Guys like Rohit Danu, Liston Colaco and Akash Mishra have a lot of potential. I’m sure that they can continue improving together and become huge assets for Hyderabad in the future. Not just them, I am very happy with how all the youngsters have been working hard in training. If they can keep showing their passion for the game, they will get a lot more opportunities than people might anticipate.
On the threat possessed by Odisha Fc
Our opponents Odisha are a very good side. They have an exceptional coach who has a lot of coaching experience from around the world. They are still a bit of an unknown quantity because they played just two friendly games. Also, their coach was in quarantine till just 10 days ago. This makes it difficult for him and the side as well but I’m expecting them to be very competitive.
On playing behind closed doors
These are testing times for everyone involved with the league, the players, officials and the support staff. It is very difficult to be away from our families for so long. Moreover, we’ll be missing the fans a lot because I believe that fans are the most important aspect of any football match. It will be strange to play in empty stadiums. However, this also means that it won’t matter that much whether you are playing home or away as there won’t be any home advantage or home support.