ISL: Chennaiyin FC coach Gregory has high hopes from Jeje

Jeje’s double strike had helped Chennaiyin FC beat FC Goa 3-0 (4-1 aggregate), in the semifinals of the ISL.

Jeje Lalpekhlua struggled initially, but made amends at the later stages of the ISL, by scoring nine goals so far in this edition.   -  R. Ragu

Chennaiyin FC’s head coach John Gregory, on Thursday, said that he always knew his striker Jeje Lalpekhlua would come good at some stage of the ongoing Indian Super League (ISL), after his goal drought in the initial matches. Jeje struggled initially, but made amends at the later stages of the ISL, by scoring nine goals so far in this edition.

“If you continue to support him, you know he will get something. I told Jeje that he would get two goals, and he did get it in the second leg ISL semifinals against FC Goa,” Gregory said here.

Jeje’s double strike had helped Chennaiyin FC beat FC Goa 3-0 (4-1 aggregate), in the semifinals. Except for Sunil Chhetri, no Indian striker has been as good as Jeje. He has scored nine goals this ISL, after a harrowing time he had in the first three games, where he failed to score any goal. Gregory said Jeje has the mental makeup to face odds, if given full support.

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“In Goa, even in the humidity, Jeje ran himself to the ground. During the second semis, at home, he cramped because of his enthusiasm and effort,” he said. After the initial struggle, Jeje responded with a telling brace against ATK, which included a 90th-minute winner, in a 3-2 win.

He went on to enjoy a purple patch, scoring five goals in his next eight games, only to again find it hard to get the goals. The Mizo striker went without any goal in six games.

Asked about his form this season, Jeje said, “Our coach (John Gregory) believes in me and I wanted to replay the faith he has shown in me. It has been a long run this season, and as a unit, we have achieved our target. The final on March 17 is a big game and we are ready for it.”