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Asian Cup 2019: Jeje Lalpekhlua – India needs to play more friendlies

7:34 PM GMT 14/01/2019
India UAE Jeje Lalpekhlua
The India striker opined that the country needs to play more international matches…

India crashed out of the Asian Cup 019 following a disappointing 1-0 defeat at the hands of Bahrain on Monday evening at the Al-Sharjah Stadium, UAE.

Jeje Lalpekhlua, who came on as a substitute in the second half, expressed his disappointment and was short of words to describe the sinking feeling.

“It is a disappointing end. We came here to qualify for the knockout stages. We gave everything we had. We played well in the first gameagainst Thailand but it is football. 

“I felt like crying, in the last few minutes because it was a soft penalty we gave. I don't think it was a penalty. Right now we can’t help. We had worked very hard since day one to qualify for this Asian Cup. I have nothing much to say right now,” he shared his thoughts.

The Blue Tigers struggled to get out of their own half against the West Asians but Jeje affirmed that it was not the plan set out by coach Stephen Constantine.

“No way was the plan to defend as we were going for attack. It happens,” he mentioned.

Constantine has put in his papers in the aftermath of the defeat and Jeje heaped praise on the English coach.

“I would like to thank him. He did so many good things for Indian football. He came in when we were around 175th. Look where we are now, we qualified for the Asian Cup and he did what he set out for,” said the Chennaiyin FC striker.

Jeje reasoned that for India to improve they need to play against higher ranked teams on a regular basis.

“This squad is young and we have potential but we need to keep playing the big teams like China, UAE. We need to play more friendlies like this and improve.”