Bengaluru: Inspired by one of the greatest coaches, Sir Alex Ferguson, Chennaiyin FC are “determined” to create history in the Indian Super League’s (ISL) 2018-19 season that commences on September 29 and also attract “a lot of enemies”.

Chennaiyin, the defending champions, want to do what no other franchise has managed in the ISL, which is in its fifth year.

So far in the four seasons, only two teams have lifted the trophy, ATK (2014, 2016) and Chennaiyin (2015, 2017-18) both twice each.

Chennaiyin’s head coach John Gregory invoked former Manchester United manager Ferguson and his philosophy to keep winning titles. Under Ferguson, United won the Premier League trophy 13 times.

“Alex Ferguson won his first championship in the 90s, all he wanted to do was go and win it the following season. And he did it 13 times. That’s the true sign of a champion. You don’t just win it once, you go back and win it. And that’s what I have tried to instil in my squad that real champions don’t just win it once — they go back and win it the following year and the year after that. A lot of it is mental and not just physical,” Englishman Gregory said in Bengaluru during the ISL “Media Day” on Thursday.

“My boys have always been physically very fit. They are always able to compete with the opposition. But there is a mental toughness you must have. It literally started from the first day of the pre-season training. One of the things we looked at was their attitude and they had an even better attitude that they had 12 months ago. They have all got the same kind of desire and hunger they had 12 months ago. That itself speaks volumes to me. Obviously, as the leader of the group, I have to make sure that they maintain that hunger and desire and also the professionalism that they had. We are very positive and very determined and still very very hungry,” he added.

Citing the example of Manchester, Gregory said the English club had “a lot of enemies” due to their success and he hoped to have “enemies” like that for Chennaiyin too.

“Manchester United have a lot of detractors all over the world. Certainly, in England, there are a lot of people who don't like Manchester United because they kept winning the title every year. That, sometimes, create a lot of enemies, by being successful. I hope we get as many enemies for the next two or three seasons,” the 64-year-old coach said.

He also sent out a warning to the opposite sides stating that it won’t be easy for them against Chennaiyin.

"We are a hardworking team. You won't get any easy game. We are going to make it as difficult as we possibly can,” he declared.

Team’s striker Jeje Lalpekhlua too backed his coach and said they have a “strong squad” to set a new ISL record.

“Our squad is strong enough to make records, winning three trophies. The boys are ready to make the record. For that, you have to work hard. Winning the trophy (again) is our target,” Jeje said.

Chennaiyin will open campaign against Bengaluru FC in an away game on September 30 in a repeat of the last season’s final.

[John Gregory in the featured image on top]