IT WAS A TOUGH SEASON for the new Indian Super League entrants, Hyderabad FC. The re-christened franchise club of FC Pune City had struggled in the initial years too in consistently making it to the playoffs.
Their problems were further worsened seeing the coach sacked very early in the season. An assistant coach and an interim manager led the team through last season.
Hyderabad FC made things right by getting on board the well-known former Bengaluru FC coach Albert Roca, early last season. But he could only take charge of the team later in the year. While on board, Roca had already begun the scouting for the right players that would help him execute his plans.
When things looked heading in the right direction, another hurdle came along for the team from Hyderabad. Albert Roca left the team for a more lucrative offer from FC Barcelona in Spain.
Hyderabad FC were back to square one.
A new beginning
Manuel “Manolo” Marquez was announced as the Hyderabad FC coach on the last day of August 2020. Freshly off a coaching stint in the Croatian top tier, Manuel has also seen a lot Spanish teams closely early in his career. Particularly, helping teams gain promotion. This is a factor that might just be the key to Hyderabad FC’s success.
The Spaniard Manuel has done what it takes to grind out results and Hyderabad FC are looking to do just that. A semi-final qualification would signify a huge leap forward in terms of progress. In his statements, he has mentioned that he finds Hyderabad FC to have the right kind of mix of foreign and Indian players.
So far in the pre-season inter-ISL friendlies, Hyderabad FC have managed to prove a point about scoring which was a let-down last season.
A win over FC Goa with four goals scored, a 1-1 draw with Bengaluru FC and a 2-0 loss to Kerala Blasters and another loss to NorthEast United. Six goals in four games may seem a figure to please but the results in friendlies are no indicator of what can be expected when the league begins.
Manuel sure does not wish to join list of another manager on the exit after a poor start. He has had that experience at NK Istra in Crotia.
By the look of things, Manuel Marquez seems an ideal candidate to help the team avoid the wrong end of the table.