Panaji, Feb 5,2018: Fresh from their upset win over Minerva Punjab FC, Churchill Brothers have another big task cut out for them against defending champions Aizawl FC in an I-League clash at the Tilak Maidan here on Tuesday.
The Paulo Menezes-coached Aizawl, who are coming from a stalemate against Chennai City FC, would be wary of the Red Machines who are looking to be the team to beat at the moment.
Aizawl have reasons to be worried as they are winless in their last five matches — counting the AFC Champions League game against Zob Ahan.
Their not-so-decent run of results has seen them slump to a lowly sixth on 16 points and Churchill Brothers are only three points behind the defending champions.
Churchill Brothers are growing in confidence with each passing game and they have targeted a top-half finish for the season. After the addition of players like Koffi Mechac, Kalu Ogba, Eldor Hussein and others, the Red Machines look like a different animal.
“It is my belief that if we had this whole set of foreigners from the beginning, we could have been in the top two and even heading the league table with some distance,” Churchill Brothers coach Alfred Fernandes suggested.
“In the initial stages of the season, we lost five matches which is 15 points. So you see the recovery we had to make from the five defeats.”
Menezes agreed that this Churchill Brothers team is not the same as the side they had beaten in the reverse fixture.
“You cannot compare this Churchill Brothers to the one that played in Aizawl against us. They have improved a lot. It will be a very tough game. But we are ready,” Menezes said.
But Churchill coach Alfred Fernandes is prepared to face a backlash from Aizawl after their poor run of form.
“That (backlash) is always expected, especially Aizawl being the defending champions. Being in mid-table, they will come out hard against us,” Fernandes said.
Menezes feels that the points table does not justify their performances.
But the Portuguese coach feels that taking one game at a time is the best way forward right now.
“It’s a chance, it is a game. It is not the best chance to take three points, it is just a chance,” Meneses stated.