November 24, 2020

ISL 2020-21: Manuel Marquez not afraid to put his money on youngsters like Rohit Danu & Akash Mishra

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The Spanish coach is ready to bet on young players in his squad like Rohit Danu and Akash Mishra…

Hyderabad FC have roped in some exciting talent like Rohit Danu and Akash Mishra from the AIFF’s (All India Football Federation) developmental team Indian Arrows. Both players found regular game-time in the previous I-League campaign and now they have an opportunity to prove their mettle in the ISL (Indian Super League) when Hyderabad take on Odisha on Monday evening. 

“If the players we have, stay here for long, Hyderabad FC will have a strong future as a team. We have many young players like Rohit Danu, Akash Mishra, Biaka Jongte, Lalawmpuia and Sweden Fernandes among others. We are very satisfied with the players. We want them to show passion and if they play more games, they will go on to become important players for the team,” stated coach Manuel Marquez. 

The manager wants to start the campaign on a winning note, even though he is concerned about a curtailed pre-season due to the Coronavirus pandemic. He thinks that teams which have maintained their core will have an advantage this season. 

“It is very difficult. This is why continuity in the squad will be very important for teams in the initial stages. Normally, we have six-to-seven weeks for pre-season but this season, we only have four weeks to prepare. Thus, the first few games will be important in building the team.

“The first game is very important because it is good to start with a victory. Some players might not play (in the opening game) but the plan is more or less the same for everyone. For Monday, we have to train on Saturday and Sunday. We will have light activation on the day of the game. We have been working very hard for the whole week.”

The Nizams played a couple of friendlies as part of their preparations where they had a mixed bag of results. They won against FC Goa, drew with Bengaluru FC and lost to NorthEast United. But Marquez is not willing to break a sweat over the results in pre-season friendlies. 

“Results are not that important in the pre-season. For example, ATKMB did not play friendlies during the pre-season but they have won the first match. I always tell my players that friendly games in pre-season are just another kind of training session. We are in a good mood at the moment. We are building a new team with new players. It is most important to arrive in the best condition for Monday’s game.”

The former Las Palmas manager is aware of the stiff competition in ISL. Although he believes that there are no favourites, yet teams who have retained their core group of players will be at an advantage. 

“The competition is tough. There are no favourite teams. It is difficult to predict the teams that will sit at the top or bottom of the table. The teams are at the same level with the same number of foreigners. The young Indian players are performing better as well. The teams with the most continuity in the squad will perform better,” signed off Marquez.