Manuel Marquez confident in the race for the playoffs – ‘Hyderabad needs a season like this’

Hyderabad pummelled Kerala Blasters 4-0 in the Indian Super League 2020-21 clash at the Tilak Maidan Stadium on Tuesday. By the virtue of the victory, the Nizams are at the third spot on the points table with 27 points. 

Head coach Manuel Marquez admitted that his team was not up to the mark in the first half. He, however, mentioned that the opening goal was important as it set the tempo of the game.  

“The first goal was important because (facing) Kerala Blasters practically is difficult. Maybe they can climb some positions. But we are trying to qualify for the top four and the first goal was key for this game,” Marquez said. 

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“I think we didn’t play well in the first half. Even is some moments Kerala Blasters played better than us without too many chances. But in the first half, we didn’t find the spaces or have good positioning. But in the second half, in the dressing room, they kept calm and the players had the confidence to score. If they scored before us, then we would be speaking about another thing, but fortunately, we did,” he added.

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Marquez also said that he prepared his team to face the best version of Kerala Blasters. He dedicated the win by a big margin to the fans of the club and said it is an important win for the city. 

“When you’re preparing then you imagine the best version of the opponent and this is the third time we score four goals but of course we prepared to score. We are proud. This is important for the fans and the city. Hyderabad needs a season like this. We are practically in the top five and have to fight for top four,” he said.

On changing his line-up after first-half, he said,  “When we are winning 2-0, practically the game was finished. I think even I can play for some minutes. Because it’s easy to play when you’re 2-0 up. For me, I like the style of Kerala Blasters when they play.”.

Marquez revealed that his defender Asish Rai injured his knee. “It doesn’t seem good because it’s the knee. We need to see if its a twist. If it is a twist then his season is finished, it its a kick then he can play the next match,” he said.

On the interaction with Kibu Vicuna before the match, Marquez said: “Kibu is a fantastic person and a very good coach. We have a lot of friends. I never worked with Kibu but he worked with people that I worked with in Spain. We have a very good relationship”.  

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