CHENNAI: From being one of the few teams to remain undefeated after five rounds to losing two on the trot, Hyderabad FC have hit a rough patch recently. They will get a chance to rectify that on Wednesday when they take on FC Goa at the Tilak Maidan Stadium on Thursday.
Consecutive setbacks have meant the Nizams have slumped to eighth spot on the table with nine points from seven games. Goa are two points ahead and a couple of places above them, albeit having played a game more. Hyderabad have also not scored in those two matches, but Manuel Marquez feels such
slumps in form are natural and he is content that his team is creating scoring opportunities and believes that the goals will come sooner rather than later.
“This is normal in football. Sometimes you are in a good situation. We were unbeaten in the first five games and now two consecutive defeats. We have to make a comeback as soon as possible. We are working in this direction. Against Mumbai, we didn’t create too many chances but against Kerala we had quite a few clear-cut chances. Two of Aridane Santana in the first half and a good shot from Fran Sandaza. The problem is if you don’t create chances. For example, in the last training session before the Kerala Blasters match, we scored a lot of goals from so many exercises but finally in the game we didn’t get to score. This is football. Let’s see what happens in the next games.”
Their defence has also failed to bail out the team during this phase. After conceding only two in the opening four, Marquez’s team has let in six times in the last three games. “You have to analyse the teams. East Bengal scored two goals from two shots on target. Mumbai had three shots on target. Maybe Kerala had more shots on target. You had two clean sheets in the first two games and now you have conceded in five consecutive games. Let’s see tomorrow if we can get another clean sheet.”
The Gaurs, fresh off a six-day break, will be hoping to solve their defensive woes. Attacking-wise, they have scored the second-most goals (10) so far. However, they have conceded 9 while recording just one clean sheet. Seven of them have come through set-pieces — the most by a team this season.
“In my mind, there are two points. Firstly, I’m not worried if we concede goals but the most important is to score more goals. The second point is about set-pieces. For example, we have conceded three goals through penalties. In my opinion, it’s very important for my players to connect while working in the
defensive line, it’s very important to understand the zones, space and who is there in free space. We need time as we need to change game by game. ATK Mohun Bagan or Bengaluru FC, maybe they have more success because they have worked together year by year,” coach Juan Ferrando pointed out.