ISL 2019-20: Can Hyderabad FC benefit from Phil Brown's Pune City resurgence?
With FC Pune City shutting down their senior team operations owing to financial troubles and a spot vacant in the ISL, Varun Tripuraneni and Vijay Madduri bought a franchise and decided to locate it in Hyderabad. Most of the players jumped the bandwagon from Pune to Hyderabad and their head coach Phil Brown followed them too.
After not picking up a victory in either of their opening three games, FC Pune City sacked Miguel Angel Portugal and put Pradyumn Reddy in-charge as an interim manner. He helmed the proceedings of the next nine matches and the team succeeded in picking up three wins and one draw.
But, they experienced an upturn of sorts only when Phil Brown came into the picture. The Englishman simply tweaked the tactic to an aggressive 3-4-3 formation that saw them score 12 goals in six matches and pick up three victories.
As mentioned before, the Hyderabad FC squad is mostly the same as that of FC Pune City squad. But, the big names, Ashique Kuruniyan and Iain Hume, are missing. Only Marcelinho and Marko Stankovic are the two foreigners that have stayed back and Rafael Lopez Gomes is the only other player with prior ISL experience.
How will Phil Brown's 3-4-3 system for Hyderabad FC shape up this ISL season?
The 3-4-3 system could thrive this time under Phil Brown in a better fashion. With Adil Khan having demonstrated his mettle as a centre-back for the Indian national team, he could be deployed in the defence line alongside Matthew Kilgallon and Rafa Gomez.
In case the two foreign defenders turn to be a slack due to their age in this mobile defence, youngsters Asish Rai, Sahil Panwar, and new recruit Tarif Akhand are there to step up.
While attacking, there is usually a big hole ahead of the defence and behind the midfield, which Chennai City FC exploited in the Super Cup encounter despite being a man down, in this formation. Marko Stankovic and Abhishek Halder will need to be constantly on their toes to ensure they don't commit the same mistake again.
Another major weakness of this system under Phil Brown which the opposition capitalized were the wide areas. Defending isn't the trait you would generally associate with Ashique Kuruniyan and Diego Carlos, although they contributed brilliantly while going upfront.
Nikhil Poojary gave a brilliant account of his defensive abilities in India's game against Qatar in the left-wing. Laldanmawia Ralte is expected to do the same in the opposite flank.
The most advantageous aspect of this tactic is the strike force. With a variety of ways to attack, the trio of Robin Singh, Marcelinho, and Jamaican international Giles Barnes could be deadly. Nestor Gordillo, who is currently serving his four-month ban, and Brazilian striker Bobo could also come handy.
But, this tactic requires fit players and a thorough understanding of their roles. A good pre-season is required but Hyderabad FC, unfortunately, were the last ones to start.
Will Phil Brown's magic with FC Pune City continue in the next season with Hyderabad FC? Or, will he get the early sack? The first four games for them in ISL, which is spread over only eleven days, should give us the answer.