By Vishesh Roy
New Delhi [India], February 26 (ANI): Hyderabad FC had finished at the bottom of the points table in the Indian Super League (ISL) last season, but the side has managed to change their fortunes around this season as they are in with a chance to qualify for the semi-finals in the ongoing seventh season.
The side will clash against FC Goa on Sunday and this match is crucial for Hyderabad to qualify for the playoffs. Manuel Marquez’s side is currently at the fifth spot with 28 points from 19 games and a win against Goa will take them to 31 points.
Ahead of the crucial encounter, Hyderabad FC co-owner Varun Tripuraneni interacted with ANI on how he views the ISL season 7 for his team and how he keeps his team upbeat in crucial stages.
“I think it has been a great season, we did not have a good season in our first outing last year. To turn things around, it needed a massive effort from not just the players and coaches, but from the backend staff as well. I think we have had a great season on and off the pitch, going into the last game against FC Goa, we know what we need to do, we need to win and that will take us through to the semi-finals,” Tripuraneni said.
“When we were planning our targets for the season, we wanted to be in contention till the very end and that’s where we are. From that point, it has been a satisfying season. While results have been positive, another important aspect is how the younger players have come through the ranks. Manuel Marquez’s contribution has been remarkable, overall a positive season for us,” he added.
Talking about Hyderabad’s final group-stage match against FC Goa, Tripuraneni said: “I think one thing which is good in a way is that we know what we do in the last game. There could have been a situation where we needed a point or a win, so that confusion is not there. We need three points. Couple of ways we were down, but we fought back like in the game against Bengaluru. Same with East Bengal as well. Even though youngsters are there, I know the pressure will be a factor, but the way we have fought back, I am confident we will do the job again.”
Tripuraneni also shed light on how a bio-bubble can take its toll on the players and he explained what all his management did in order to ensure good mental space of Hyderabad players and support staff.
“At the start of the season, we were also trying to get on terms and understand the bio-bubble better. While planning for the season, the IPL was on at the same time in the Middle East. We were trying to get as many inputs as possible from the people who were involved in the IPL. One thing which we put a lot of effort into was communicating with our players and give them enough information on what they can expect when they come to Goa for ISL,” said Tripuraneni.
“There could have been a scenario when the players could have come to Goa and they did not know what to expect. We communicated very well and we set the expectations right. We prepared the players well. Unlike IPL, we knew we had to be in a bubble for five-six months which was completely different. We prepared players well and once they came to Goa, all of them familiarised themselves with the conditions. Our coach Marquez has always said that the strength of the team has always been the unity in the group and the characters in the squad,” he added.
A lot of debate kickstarted in the ongoing season of the ISL regarding referring calls and how the league needs to get Video Assistant Referee (VAR) in place. However, Tripuraneni spoke about how the VAR is not full proof and he even said that referring will get better once the match officials are given more and more exposure.
“I think, in terms of VAR, there are a lot of factors that the league will need to consider because it is not a very straight-forward system and there is a massive financial implication as well. As a fan, when I watch European football, VAR is not something I particularly like as time is lost during a game and it is not full-proof as well. I am not sure we will be implementing VAR in the immediate future,” said Tripuraneni.
“Good and bad decisions are part of the game, unfortunately only the bad decisions get highlighted and are talked about more. When a decision doesn’t go your way, the other team benefits, but no one talks about that. I just feel, the quality of the league has gone up tremendously from 2014 and I am sure with the right effort and training with referees, the quality of referring will also improve,” he added. (ANI)
By Vishesh Roy