BY ANSELM NORONHA Follow @apnoronha on twitter
Churchill Brothers SC haven't had the best of starts in their I-League title defense this season, as the Red Machines are yet to register three points after the first two matchdays.
"We did not start well. Our main players were not fit," said the Goan team's coach Mariano Dias. "In the next match against Mumbai FC, Henri (Antchouet) will be completely fit," he told Goal.
Dias accepted that his side should have taken advantage of their fixtures at home and hopes that the tie against Mumbai FC on Saturday could be the turning point in their campaign.
"In fact, we should have done that (taken advantage of home games). Our first match [against Salgaocar FC] was a derby where we could have had a point with a draw," he said.
"But still, nothing is lost. We still have a chance to come back and have a long way to go," he added.
The Churchill head coach informed that Hugo Machado will be a doubtful starter against Mumbai FC as the Portuguese midfielder is yet to complete his recovery from a strain on his right thigh.
"Hugo is yet to recover. He may not start," he mentioned.
Their Syrian recruit Ahmad Al Kaddour was disappointing to say the least against Mohun Bagan last weekend. However Dias backed the player to up his performance in the coming matches.
"The thing is that, because of the war in Syria, he (Al Kaddour) was out of practice for two and a half months. So we also hope to see him at his best soon."
The only bright spot for Churchill’s season so far has been the form of the youngsters, namely Richard Costa and Alesh Sawant, who have been promoted into the first team.
"They have performed very well in the local league and the I-League is of a higher standard. You need good temperament. There is also Satish [Singh] who is already part of the starting eleven in place of Denzil [Franco]."
Denzil Franco has meanwhile has recovered from an injury and will be available for Churchill Brothers' round three match against Mumbai FC.