India international Sandesh Jhingan was adjudged the Emerging Player of the Indian Super League 2014, but the Kerala Blasters defensive rock himself admits that it was just an 'above-average' season for him.
The performance of the Chandigarh lad for Blasters in the inaugural edition of the ISL attracted plaudits from all quarters of the game, and Jhingan also went on to receive the AIFF Emerging Footballer of the Year award as well.
The success of ISL 2014 gave Jhingan his senior national team debut under British coach Stephen Constantine, and he remained consistent with his performance there as well.
"Personally, I had an average (ISL) season. Everyone says I had a great season, but with my few mistakes, I'd say it was an above-average season. I have to improve and hopefully, I will play better," Jhingan, 21, told ISL's official website.
Jhingan started each of the 14 games for Blasters last year, and his tally of nine shots and 21 crosses played a major role in ensuring the club reached the final of the inaugural season.
Jhingan, however, admits that there are still several aspects that he needs to work on, such as his concentration.
"I think that comes with maturity as well. I lose my concentration pretty fast, so I have to dig myself out of it. Hopefully, I should work and improve upon it," he said.
He said optimism is key to victory in any game.
"I think we [Kerala Blasters] had potential last year as well [to win the League]. It's all about belief. Even if you have the best players in the world, you can't win anything without belief.
"We have a new coach [Peter Taylor], but the system will be the same because both the coaches are English – David [James] and Peter. We also have the likes of Trevor [Morgan], so I think we're building a good squad here. Hopefully, the team will gel together, work harder and keep the faith," said Jhingan.
The defensive rock got his senior team debut in the Indian National Team under Constantine at the Russia 2018 World-Cup pre-qualifiers against Nepal in Guwahati on 12 March.
Following the end of ISL, Jhingan went to ply trade on loan with I-League outfit Sporting Clube de Goa for the 2014-15 season, and saved the Goan side from relegation.
When he arrived at the club, it had not won even once from as many as 10 games and in severe threat of getting demoted to the Second Division League.
Now, all eyes will be on the promising defender as ISL 2015 gets underway on 3 October. Blasters take on NorthEast United FC in their first game of this year's edition of the ISL on 6 October. The game will take place at JLN Stadium in Kochi.