He has big shoes to fill but Hyderabad FC’s new coach Manuel Marquez is ready to take the challenge head on and feels the pressure to perform can bring out the best in him and his side when they take the field in the upcoming season of the Indian Super League (ISL).
Former UD Las Palmas coach Marquez was appointed in a hurry after Hyderabad’s preparation for the season was disrupted by Albert Roca’s decision to vacate the role of the head coach and become FC Barcelona first team’s new fitness coach after he was offered the job by the Catalan giants.
“When you arrive at a new club, it’s always a big responsibility. We are used to taking over as the new head coach two months before the beginning of the Championship in Spain. In this case, it is quite challenging too. But I know what this project at Hyderabad is exactly and so we are prepared for the season,” Marquez told IANS in an interview on Friday.
The newbies of Indian football finished rock-bottom in their debut season last time, managing only 10 points from 18 matches. Since then, the team management joined hands with German football giants Borussia Dortmund (BVB) last month in a bid to strengthen their academy structure as well as guiding the club’s coaches on coaching education.
Asked if there will be pressure on the 51-year-old replacing Roca who will now be part of Barcelona first team coaching staff and has also tasted success in Indian football, Marquez said: “I like the pressure. If you have pressure, it means that you are in for a great challenge and I’m sure that our work will be good. We’ll put in a lot of passion and we want our fans to be proud of us. For me, one of the key aspects is that all the people, the fans, players, staff, and the board have to go in the same direction.”
Roca guided Bengaluru FC to a historic AFC Cup final in 2016 and also helped the ISL side reach the final of the league.
At Hyderabad FC, Roca handpicked the players before his switch to Barcelona.
“Yes, Albert chose the players, but they are really good players and all the coaches want these kinds of players in their team,” said Marquez who has worked with a number of top La Liga coaches, including current CD Leganes manager Javier Aguirre and former Barcelona and Real Betis coach Quique Setien.
“I know all the staff as well, and Xavi (Gurri) the assistant coach has been with the team in the ISL last season. For me, I will have to surely adapt to India, the habits, the players, etc. But this is the same that happens in every team even in Spain.
“When you look at it, it’s not the same to train in Espanyol (Barcelona) and then in Las Palmas (Canary Islands) or even in Croatia. I am sure that we will enjoy this experience and the season will be very good. The only thing that is different this year and season is the coronavirus pandemic, unfortunately. But this problem is present in the entire world, not only in India and we have to learn to co-exist with it.”
Marquez further said ISL is very popular in Spain.
“Firstly, I want to say that ISL is very famous in my country. There are a lot of Spanish players in ISL and in the I-League too. I am a part of it now. It means that I am a professional and I have to know the maximum things about the teams, their players, the facilities, the stadiums, and I am happy because the club is helping me in all the ways.”