HYDERABAD : Hyderabad FC head coach Manolo Marquez wants his team to bounce back and not let their momentum slip as they take on ATK Mohun Bagan in Matchweek 19 of the Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 at the GMC Balayogi Athletic Stadium in Hyderabad on Tuesday.
Following a 3-1 defeat to Odisha FC at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, the reigning ISL champions, who are currently positioned second in the league standings, are yet to secure their second place in the table.
However, a win against their opponents in the upcoming game would confirm their position in the table, which hands them direct entry into the semi-finals of the ISL.
Marquez believes finding the three points against ATK Mohun Bagan wouldn't come easy and needs his side to be fully focused in order to seal the second position.
"Now, the mood in the camp is okay. We know that we played a bad game in Bhubaneswar, but the very next day Kerala Blasters FC lost to Bengaluru FC, which means we need two points - one win or two draws (to secure the second position). If we can win on Tuesday, it will be a great success to finish in the second position," Marquez stated in the official pre-match press conference.
Hyderabad FC ended up on the losing side in the reverse fixture in a 1-0 defeat against the Mariners. The Spaniard highlighted how the race for the playoffs is still open and felt that their opponents would come motivated to gain the three points.
"It will be a difficult game. It will be the same situation as it was last season and it will be the same situation with the game against Kerala Blasters FC as well. The third and fourth positions are important positions, and at this moment, every game will be incredibly difficult. Now there are five-six teams fighting for four-five slots. To play against such teams is very difficult," he added.
A win in the upcoming match would take Hyderabad FC's wins tally to twelve wins, beating their record of eleven wins in the previous season. Marquez pointed out the changing dynamics of statistics and wants his side to focus only on the game.
"It is for the Indian people who love the statistics part of it. If we win on Tuesday, the most important thing is that we would finally be second. If we have more points than last season, it would be a fantastic history for the club, but for sure someone will come in the future and in one season, they will do more points. Maybe, it will be next season or after 20 years, but that is not so important, what is important is to win on Tuesday or as soon as possible," he said.
ATK Mohun Bagan have struggled when it comes to scoring goals, with the Mariners scoring the least number of goals (20) in the top six. Irrespective of their stumbling performances, the 54-year-old warned his players to be wary of the team, which is filled with top players.
"I know they are in a difficult situation but all people who like football know that they are a very good team and they can beat all the opponents. I think it will be a difficult game for both teams, for them as well. We can beat them or we can be a difficult team to beat if we play in a good way," he commented.
"For example, this was the reason why we lost our last game. When you don't do the correct things or you are thinking that you are already qualified, these kinds of things happen when you play a bad game and you lose against one team who is fighting to arrive in the top six. It will be another hard game on Tuesday, they want to win but we want to win as well and we are ready for the game," he added.
Manolo Marquez's men will play their third game in a span of 10 days. With the structure of fixtures being pretty close to each other, Marquez hinted on a change in the team lineup. "It's possible, yes. There will be changes, it won't be the same team that played against Odisha FC," he concluded.
Hyderabad FC forward Javier Siverio accompanied Marquez in the pre-match press conference. The striker is one of the few players to have featured in all of the 17 matches that Hyderabad FC have played this season. Having netted five goals this season, the Spaniard addressed the mood in the dressing room but believes the game against ATK Mohun Bagan is extremely vital and the team needs to put their best foot forward to win.
"After the defeat the other day, of course, we want to bounce back now. It's true that we're not happy with our performance in our last game but we have to forget that defeat and try to win the next game. Because if we win the next game, we will assure second place. So, for me the most important thing is to play against the away team, but we play at home and we have to be ready on Tuesday to win the three points," Siverio said.
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