ANI Photo | “Hopefully we grow from this season”: Thangboi Singto following poor ISL 2023-24 season

Hyderabad FC head coach Thangboi Singto rued his side’s missed chances after losing 3-1 against Kerala Blasters FC in their Indian Super League (ISL) game at the GMC Balayogi Athletic Stadium in Hyderabad on Friday.
In the 34th minute, Kerala Blasters FC’s Mohammed Aimen netted his debut ISL goal with a precise header, giving his team a narrow lead heading into half-time. Early in the second half, Daisuke Sakai extended the Blasters’ advantage with another goal. Nihal Sudeesh, who came on as a substitute, sealed the victory for Ivan Vukomanovic’s side with a goal in the 81st minute.
Throughout the game, Hyderabad FC had several opportunities to score, with players like Makan Chothe and Ramhlunchhunga threatening, but their chances were either thwarted by Kerala Blasters FC goalkeeper Lara Sharma or missed the target. However, in the dying moments of the second half, Joao Victor salvaged a consolation goal for the hosts with a powerful strike using his right foot.
Reflecting on the match, Singto expressed dissatisfaction with his team’s defensive lapse leading to the first goal and rued their missed chances in front of the goal.
“We started well and then we made the decision from where we can concede goals. Exactly that happened today. Till the 31st minute, we were quite competitive, but one mistake (and we conceded the goal). I can’t blame the young players, who have been playing continuously and have given all for their all, their best for the club. So I can’t complain about that one mistake. But we created two big chances. If we had converted, that would have been a different story. We knew we would be able to score,” Singto said in the post-match press conference.
The head coach commended their captain, Joao Victor, who was the solitary goal scorer for his team in their 3-1 loss against Kerala Blasters FC. Victor, who joined Hyderabad FC in 2020, has played a pivotal role for his club this season despite facing challenges, including the departure of several foreign and Indian players during the January transfer window. As the only foreign player remaining in Hyderabad FC’s current squad, Victor has emerged as one of the senior figures, providing leadership and guidance to the younger players.
Singto highlighted Victor’s adaptability, mentioning his shift to a more advanced role in the latter stages of the match, while also emphasising his crucial contribution to the team’s defensive structure throughout the game.
“In the second half, at the fag end of the match, Joao was saying, ‘Maybe I can push up. (I told him) Go’ and he scored the goal. In the last match, he got the equaliser against NorthEast United FC,” Singto shared.
The Hyderabad coach further said: “If Victor was upfront, we still have more control upfront, but we also need Joao defensively. But credit to Joao, credit to the team, senior boys for pushing the young boys to give their best. We had a lot of chances.”
“We had lots of chances, like 13, 14 or 15 shots and on target maybe 4-5. That little bit statistically helped us be in the game. But hopefully, we grow from this season, where we restudy the mistakes we made. If we didn’t make those mistakes, at least a draw or some matches we could have won. And we could have got double digits (points). But saying that, lot of things to learn from here.”
Throughout this season, numerous young players from Hyderabad FC have made their ISL debuts, seizing the opportunity to showcase their talent on Indian football’s grandest stage. Singto, acknowledging the contributions of his youthful squad, urged them to reflect on their performances, analyze their mistakes, and extract valuable lessons from them.
“Games, are a real picture of a player’s quality. On the biggest stage, I think they helped this team, these young boys,” the 49-year-old stated.
“They also have to realise and self-study if they could have done better themselves. Could I have taken those chances as attackers, forwards or could I have defended better? They should keep on asking themselves because that is the way to improve as a player. Coaches-wise, we are there on the field to guide them well. But the more they study about themselves, the more they improve. Many boys will continue playing for Hyderabad FC,” Singto further added.
In expressing gratitude to the club owners and management, Singto highlighted the immense dedication, perseverance, and hard work demonstrated by his players throughout the season.
Speaking in context, the Hyderabad FC coach said, “I would like to give credit to the owners. We speak about the players, we speak about the staff but if the owners had not asked or helped us continue, we wouldn’t be playing these matches. I know it’s difficult for them also. But the understanding and the combination were helping each other push Hyderabad FC, and that has been good. They are from behind pushing us and helping us in whatever way we can. We, as a staff, are trying our best. And the biggest credit goes to our players, none other (than them).”
“I understand the fans are the most important, but for this season, the players have to be saluted. The way they behaved, reacted in situations, performed, the way they trained, there is no complaint against them. So, salute to the boys and the whole team,” Singto expressed.

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