Varun Tripuraneni: Hands-on Albert Roca's profile will help Hyderabad FC

Bengaluru FC Albert Roca
ISL
Hyderabad finished at the bottom of the table in their first season ISL but they will be a different side next season...

With 10 points and two wins from 18 matches, Hyderabad FC only just managed to avoid the tag of being the worst team in the history of Indian Super League (ISL). 

In their first season in ISL, Hyderabad struggled right from the off under English coach Phil Brown but the challenges were not just on the field. 

In a chat with Goal , co-owner Varun Tripuraneni cited a lack of time before the season kicked off as one of the major reasons for the team's struggle.

He said, "We finished at the bottom and that's the reality, we have to accept it. We just have to take the positives and push forward. I have been involved in the ISL since 2014 and last season would definitely rank as the toughest season purely because we had just about 60 days for the first game we played in Kolkata. The lack of time to prepare didn't help.

"Phil (Brown) was very supportive throughout, we did our best to get the season up and running in a very short span of time. We were unlucky in a few games and also had a lot of injuries. Rafa's (Lopez) injury and the Nestor's (Gordillo) ban didn't help us.

 "We used external agencies and worked late hours to get the stadium ready for the first game, which I feel was a big positive. It's been challenging."

The string of poor results ultimately led to the departure of head coach Brown. But then there was a twist in the tale. The club announced the signing of Albert Roca as the head coach for next season. There was a shuffle in the backroom staff and Roca's team took over. In a jiffy, Hyderabad replaced Brown's direct approach with Roca's fluid football which will take time to come to life. 

NorthEast United Hyderabad FC

Explaining the mid-season switch, Varun said, "Phil tried his best in the circumstances but it came to a stage where we felt we needed a change. We needed someone who has experience of working in India.

"We are also looking to build a squad for the future. It is sometimes not easy to attract players when you are a new team with a lot of uncertainties, we were also bottom of the table. So Albert's profile is important. We had a long, positive discussion when we met to talk about the project. We have signed a two-year contract with him and are hopeful of a successful season."

Hyderabad have already made a few moves with the next season in mind. Roca will want to shape his squad according to his style of play. The Nizams have already roped in defender Souvik Chakrabarti and midfielder Liston Colaco. 

"After we made the change in the coaching staff, Albert has been involved in a day to day basis. The idea of having him start early was to plan and prepare for next season. The signings of Souvik, Liston were triggered by the arrival of Albert, (they are) the kind of players we are looking at. Albert has been quite clear and very hands-on when it comes to the signing of players," the former Kerala Blasters CEO said. 

With youth development plans also in the pipeline, he added, "Adil (Khan) signed a long term contract, Souvik comes with experience, we have really good exciting youngsters like Asish Rai, Mohammed Yasir, Abhishek Halder who also have committed long-term with the club.

"Hyderabad is a great market. The participation levels in schools are extremely high. We are looking forward to making use of the existing football culture and converting them to a meaningful fanbase. At the moment, we are just looking to get the basics right."
 

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