The 2019-20 season saw Hyderabad FC making their first appearance in the Indian Super League (ISL). While there was a lot of optimism in the air, the excitement of the fans was soon quashed by a series of inconsistent performances.
Despite the presence of players like Marcelinho, Joao Victor and several others, the performances were simply not up to the mark. At the end of the season, when one took stock of the matter, Hyderabad FC had managed 2 wins, 4 draws and 12 losses in the league, accumulating just 10 points all season. Their 21 goals were among the lowest ever scored by an ISL side that season.
The only two wins for Hyderabad FC came against fellow league strugglers, Kerala Blasters (2-1 win) and NorthEast United FC (5-1). The win against the Kerala Blasters is the only one for Hyderabad FC at their home till date. These performances have warranted change not only in management but also in the way the club has operated.
The 2020-21 season has seen the Hyderabad FC management focusing a lot more on recruiting the right people and players to take the club forward. And with the way things have gone so far, it would seem as though they are on the right track to better their performances from last season.
The spot-on recruitment of Hyderabad FC
The management and the owners of the club have found in Manolo Marquez a coach who has over 30 years of experience in coaching. Although he does not have the most prolific of careers, Marquez comes into the ISL with a fair wind behind him following his exploits in Spanish football. What has probably impressed the Hyderabad FC authorities the most is the management style of Marquez.
Ahead of the season, the 52-year-old has brought in players whom he knows. Although none of the overseas players recruited have played for Marquez, they more or less know the coach and where they fit into Marquez's philosophy.
Aridane Santana and Fran Sandaza, in particular, have stated their intentions and happiness to be working with someone like Marquez at Hyderabad FC.
When Marquez spoke to Sportskeeda, he said, "I love football, I love to train and the chance to coach Hyderabad came. I was informed about the club and I liked the project. They started last season, and they need time. I like these kinds of challenges. We have a very good team for the future. But we'll try this season, we get to play good football and to give opportunities to young players. India has a good future because football is growing quickly in the country."
This statement alone has signaled a positive intent from the head coach ahead of the season.
Strong pre-season performances
With the coronavirus pandemic disrupting the pre-season preparations of the ISL, there has been a quick makeshift of a few fixtures ahead of the tournament. As far as Hyderabad FC are concerned, their four pre-season victories have given many a preview of what the squad is capable of.
Although the first friendly ended in defeat against the Kerala Blasters, Hyderabad FC managed a draw against Bengaluru FC and a win against FC Goa. The latter two are important results, especially given the fact that both teams have a history of good performances in the Indian Super League.
With the likes of Aridane Santana, Rohit Dhanu and Abhishek Halder putting in good performances, there is a lot for the Hyderabad FC fans to look forward to ahead of the season.
Analyzing the club's chances
With the recruitment and the philosophy of the club in place, it would be difficult to picture a playoff scenario without featuring Hyderabad FC. However, most clubs across the league have also managed to recruit a few impressive players from top leagues in Europe and will also be in contention.
In addition to this, with all games played in one or two venues across Goa, a player's fatigue post the matches is set to be at a minimum. This should ensure that the injuries of players stay at a minimum as well. However, on the flip side, most players have not played competitive football in a few months - something that could hamper the side's performances.
All things said, the Hyderabad FC owners will be expecting a few good performances from the club this season. The club will begin its ISL 2020-21 campaign against Odisha FC on the 23rd of November at Bambolim.