Today's the day for celebration, not self-criticism: Manolo Marquez after Hyderabad FC reaches the ISL Final

Hyderabad FC goalkeeper Laxmikant Kattimani dives to save a goal against ATK Mohun Bagan. (Image Courtesy: ISL Media)
Hyderabad FC goalkeeper Laxmikant Kattimani dives to save a goal against ATK Mohun Bagan. (Image Courtesy: ISL Media)

In a historic feat for Hyderabad FC, the Nizams secured a berth in the Indian Super League 2021-22 Finals after defeating ATK Mohun Bagan 3-2 on aggregate over two legs. Although HFC lost 0-1 on Wednesday in the second leg, their thumping performance in the first game was enough to push them through.

Asked if the loss sends a few warning signals ahead of the finale, head coach Manolo Marquez said that now is not the time for self-criticism but to celebrate. The Hyderabad club is filled with many young guns for whom this will be their first Final appearance.

"At that moment, the important thing for us was to qualify for the final. This is the reason that we are very happy because our team, especially our young Indian players, as for most of them, this is the first time that they will play in a final."

The 53-year-old was quick to admit that ATK Mohun Bagan were the better team on the day. However, it's very difficult to argue against HFC's spot in the finale after their performance in the first leg.

"You have to do self-criticism and I think that today ATKMB played better than us. We were lucky as they scored very late. But today's not a day to speak about bad things, today's the day for celebration as it’s the first time that we going to the Finals."

"Thinking about myself, I'm very disappointed" - Juan Ferrando after loss against Hyderabad FC

Meanwhile, ATK Mohun Bagan were left dejected yet again after their gallant effort on Wednesday narrowly fell short. The Mariners had 28 attempts, out of which eight were on target. But goalkeeper Laxmikant Kattimani rose to the occasion for Hyderabad FC.

Addressing the media after the game, ATKMB head coach Juan Ferrando said he was disappointed as the club have now narrowly lost out on the League Winners' Shield as well as the Final in a matter of days.

"To be honest, I'm very disappointed. I'm very frustrated because we lost in the last game, the championship and now we lost the semi-final. Of course, I'm not happy but it's my feeling about the team. I'm very happy because they worked a lot in a difficult situation with quarantine and with the change in coaching style. I'm happy for them but thinking about myself I'm very disappointed."

The Spanish gaffer also added that he was upset as the team couldn't go all the way for the fans.

"I'm very upset for our supporters because for me, it is very important that in difficult moments we try to get trophies and enjoy with the fans and enjoy with this team and this club."

In the last dance for the 2021-22 season, Hyderabad FC will square off against Kerala Blasters FC in the grand finale on March 20. Meanwhile, ATK Mohun Bagan will be quickly hoping to turn their focus to preparations for the upcoming season.

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Edited by Akshay Saraswat
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