Hyderabad FC fans can expect their team to play a vastly different style of football in the next Indian Super League (ISL) edition when compared to their inaugural campaign last time out.
The Nizams struggled to play a cohesive brand of football and often relied on individual brilliance of Marcelinho and Bobo to find goals as they finished rock bottom with just 10 points from 18 games. But under new coach Albert Roca, the team are on the lookout for players who will suit the Spaniard's possession-based philosophy.
Hyderabad FC have retained a few players including Adil Khan, Liston Colaco and Souvik Chakrabarti and have roped in several others like Subrata Paul and a few promising Indian Arrows stars like Rohit Danu. They are on the lookout for more players who would fit into Roca's philosophy.
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"We have to assess our weaknesses and try to fix them by bringing in the appropriate players. A few players are on my mind, but we still have time to bring in the players that we think are better for the league, and for our playing style," Roca told Goal.
"We need players who have a sense of the game and care for the ball. They need to understand the philosophy which we want to bring in to the club. We need to be comfortable on the ball and try to build the game from the back if possible, and that’s what we are trying to get to.
"The players who have these qualities will help us and will make our football even more attractive for the supporters as well," he added.
However, the 57-year-old refused to put forward any names he has already identified. But Roca did admit that those players Hyderabad have already made a part of their plans for next season were selected by him.
"As a coach, I have to count on several players. So, it’s not about just one or a few players, but more about what attributes they can bring to the team for the next season. That’s what I am looking for. I want players who can help us as a team.
"I knew a lot of players from before as well, and I have met them in the past. I can’t point out just one name, but a few are part of my squad and are important players going into the next season."
One of the problems that plagued Hyderabad FC in their debut season was the lack of preparation before the campaign began. The team hardly had a month of pre-season before they went headlong into the campaign.
Roca, however, is planning to ensure that is not the case this time out and is mindful of the fact that he will need time to impart his style on to the squad before the start.
"We know how difficult it has been for Hyderabad FC last season. From that, we have to now build a new-look team. Obviously, we need to bring in a few new players who will help our team. For us, it’s about trying to be competitive from the beginning. But we know it’s not going to be an easy task. We do begin with a bit of disadvantage compared to other teams, given that they’ve had players who have more or less played together for some time," he said.
He is under no illusions whatsoever regarding the enormity of the task at his hand and has made sure the team will play as many matches as possible during pre-season.
"We want to work hard right from the beginning and try to have as many friendly games as possible. That will help all the players in getting a sense of each other on the field as well as help them understand our philosophy and the model we want to introduce. We want to try and achieve this as fast as possible, and if we can do this, we can have a good season.
"But at the same time, we have to take it step-by-step. If we keep working hard and give our best, I think our goals can change and become even higher. But it’s not easy to predict or say anything now. I am a realistic person and I know how hard we have to work. If everyone involved in the club gives their best, I think we can achieve our targets."