Chennai, March 12 (IANS) Chennaiyin FC head coach John Gregory says he has “huge faith” in striker Jeje Lalpekhlua, who has not scored in their past seven matches of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL).
Gregory said that the Mizoram striker is working hard and hopes his leading attacker will find confidence as they face FC Goa in the second leg of their second semi-final at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Tuesday.
His last of seven goals came on January 25 in an away match against the defending champions in Kolkata.
“We are supporting him to deliver. I have huge faith in him. He has won many matches for us out of nowhere and we believe in him. He has this ability to score at any given stage. He has gone through phases like this and may be we need to provide him scoring chances,” Gregory said at the pre-match media conference.
“A striker loves scoring goals. Jeje has been exceptional in his work-rate. In the first leg, he had couple of chances and should have scored. (But) we are 100 per cent behind him to deliver for us.”
The lone Indian to start as the lead striker in this edition of the ISL, Jeje has had mixed success. The Indian international drew a blank in the first three games, scored seven in the next nine and has since struggled for goals again.
Gregory also talked about midfielder Anirudh Thapa, who scored for his side after coming as a substitute in the first leg of the semi-final in Fatorda.
Asked whether the 20-year-old will start against Goa on Tuesday, Gregory said: “He did well in the last match. He kept us in the tie and we are pleased with his performance. He is still developing. He still has a long way to go. But the club is actually proud to have him.
“He needs to step up. This tournament is at the closing stages. He needs to look after himself well in the summer and prepare for a big next season. He needs to progress and earn game-time. At this stage, he can’t afford to be standing still.”