The Spanish coach hailed Hyderabad FC goalkeeper Laxmikant Kattimani as one of the best goalkeepers in the country…
Hyderabad FC lock horns with FC Goa in a must-win clash in their final league ga of the Indian Super League (ISL) season seven on Sunday.
Coach Manuel Marquez is expecting a tough challenge from the Gaurs and is considering Sunday’s tie as a probable final match as they have no option but to get three points in order to book a berth in the play-offs.
What Marquez said?
“It would have been better if NorthEast had lost both their games (East Bengal and Kerala Blasters) but now we have to congratulate not only ATK Mohun Bagan and Mumbai City but Northeast [United] too for their fantastic season.
“It’s like a knockout because the team that wins continues and the other team goes home. It’s more or less like a final. What challenge do I expect from Goa? Goa are 12 and Hyderabad 11 games unbeaten. I’m sure it will be a hard game for both of us,” stated the Spanish coach.
The Hyderabad manager also heaped praise on his side while speaking about their performance against ATK Mohun Bagan in their last game where the Nizams on the verge of victory with a man down for the majority of the game. However, Pritam Kotal’s last-minute strike snatched two points away from them.
“It’s very difficult to play 86 plus six minutes of injury time (with 10 men) against a team that would be champions if they win the game. We scored 1-0, they equalised. We scored again 2-1, they equalised again with four players off-side. It was a hard score because they equalised in injury time, but it was a very good game to show the level of these (Hyderabad) players during this championship,” opined Marquez.
The deserving must reach the play-offs
The Spanish coach is not thinking about the equations as he felt that the most deserving side among Hyderabad and FC Goa must go through to the knock-outs.
“It’s only mathematics. In football, there are three possible scores (win, draw or loss) and Goa can qualify with two of these scores. Of course, it’s a disadvantage but at the end of the season (league phase), the best teams will be in the top four. I think we don’t have to speak about the other things around the pitch. In a regular season, it’s different from a knock-out competition.
‘Laxmikant Kattmani one of the best goalkeepers in India’
“There are two important things in this case. One thing is confidence – If you are confident, you have more possibility to achieve success. The other thing is stigma – Even if you are the best goalkeeper for 30 years, people when you fail one time. For me, Kattimani is the best goalkeeper we can have in our team for our way of play. We are safe with him. Of course, he can fail like the referee, centre forward or the coach. But for me, he’s one of the best goalkeepers in India,” opined the Hyderabad boss.
The Spaniard is not worried about missing key players like Chinglensana Singh and Aridane Santana in the key clash as he suggested that there are other players who can take their place.
“Everyone knows that this team during the course of the season showed that it’s not so important (to depend on absentees). Of course, they are key players but I remember, for example, we played the other day without Asish (Rai). We played without Sana in the first game of the league and we won.
“We played without Aridane and with only two foreigners against ATK Mohun Bagan at Fatorda in the first leg and we drew the game. One of the strengths of this (Hyderabad) team is that they are very brave and confident in every game. Of course, we would prefer these three guys to play but we will put 11 players and try to win the game,” said Marquez.