A lot was expected from Brazilian talisman Marcelinho when Odisha FC took on Hyderabad FC in the Indian Super League clash at the GMC Stadium, Bambolim. Marcelinho failed to make an impact in the game in the first half and as a result, was substituted in the 53rd minute.
Marcelinho completed 16 passes during his passage of play with only 62 per cent pass accuracy in a game that Odisha lost 1-0. He looked unhappy after being withdrawn in the second half of the match as he shook his head in agony while making his way back to the dugout.
Odisha FC head coach Stuart Baxter said that he was forced to make the decision as Marcelinho was not impactful in the first half. He also mentioned that the decision to withdraw the winger was tactical as he wanted to try out different moves with other players on the field.
"Well we had an idea to play Marcelinho as a No.10, but we didn't see him on the ball and if you don't see Marcelinho on the ball then you're not going to see him making a tackle and running all over the field. So I thought that we should go more direct. We had 10-15 minutes to increase our momentum a little bit. I think the players worked very hard, otherwise, we wouldn't have been in the game till the last minute," Baxter explained the logic behind the substitution.
Besides Marcelinho, there were other Odisha FC players looked rusty. Baxter believes that the short pre-season was one of the reasons behind his players' sloppy form and said that he would have liked to spend more time with them.
"I don't think I'm different from any of the coaches, we would like more time with the players. I think the fact that we were chasing the game once we gave away the penalty, the frustration that crept in that resulted in a few time challenges, that's probably the reason," Odisha FC head coach Stuart Baxter said in the post-match interview.
Odisha, after losing the match against Hyderabad 0-1, will take on Jamshedpur next on Sunday.