Can’t wait to get back to India: Manolo Marquez

The Boss speaks about the Euros, Copa America, preparing for the next season and more…

From shocking comments to entertaining press conferences, Hyderabad FC Head Coach Manolo Marquez finds ways to always say the right thing. Ever since he left back for Spain after the end of the 2020-21 Indian Super League season, we and the fans in the country thoroughly miss his charm.

So, we decided to sit down with the gaffer for a fun chat and Manolo did not disappoint. Read what he says…

What was the reaction of people close to you, to your first season with Hyderabad FC?

It was a pity we missed out on the top-4 after getting so close but most of my family and friends enjoyed every bit of the season. There was an app that telecasted the ISL games in Spain and it was popular among many I know. Most of them also know the names of the players now and cannot wait for the next season to get underway.

Are you watching the Euros and Copa America?  Were you impressed by any team in particular? Who do you think are the favourites?

In the Euros, Italy and Belgium are two teams that have impressed me. I love to watch them in action but I believe that Didier Deschamps’ French National Team are the firm favourites to go all the way. In Copa America, Brazil and Argentina could fight for the trophy.

But in both competitions, there are plenty of strong and determined teams and that has made it all, a more exciting watch.

Did you watch the Blue Tigers in action? Any thoughts on their performances?

I watched the games against Bangladesh and Afghanistan and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the performances of the Indian youngsters. The game against Qatar was also a real test. India’s aim was to finish as high as possible in the group and I believe that the 3rd place finish was pretty well deserved.

How much do you miss watching games at the stadium? Have you been to a stadium since the lockdown has been lifted in Catalonia?

I miss fans and packed stadiums far too much to put in words. For now, it looks like the fans will be allowed to go to the stadiums in Spain from the start of the domestic season and that can’t come soon enough for everyone in the country.

Yes, I managed to watch Espanyol B take on Peňa Deportiva in Segunda Division B and it was a great feeling to be back in the stands.

How are you keeping yourself busy in the off-season?

Since you asked, I believe that the off-season for the ISL is a bit too long, which is not ideal for the players. But it gives us time to spend with family and friends and also for an occasional movie. The Euros and Copa America have also kept us busy.

I have been in contact with the owners, staff, the players and the fans of Hyderabad FC, as we all begin our preparations for the new season.

Is life back to normal in Catalonia? Do you plan on a vacation before travelling to India for the upcoming ISL campaign?

Yes, life is almost back to normal here in Spain, mainly because most people are vaccinated and I think that is the key for most countries. When it comes to vacations, Menorca in the Balearic Islands is what I consider a paradise, where I can disconnect from the world.

I would love to visit that place soon but a part of me wants to be back in India to start our preparations for the next season, which is just as exciting.

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