Manchester City warned about South China
Former Fulham defender Zesh Rehman has warned Manchester City not to take South China lightly when they clash in the Barclays Asia Trophy next week.
After Tottenham Hotspur and Sunderland kick off the tournament, City take on last season's Hong Kong champions. Rehman, who now plays in Hong Kong with Kitchee, says Manuel Pellegrini's side can expect a physical battle at Hong Kong Stadium.
"South China will be fit and quite physical and will give the Premier League clubs a run for their money," he said. "They have their own style of play it will be a good test and good for the local players as well to play a Premier League side.
"They are quite direct. They don't seek to pass and pass again. They play a little bit but, while not the long ball, they look to go forward as much as they can and look to get behind and are quite physical, too, so it will be a good game."
Rehman says City should be careful not to let South China's Brazilian imports, including Carlos Augusto Bertoldi ("Ticao"), too much time to pass the ball and that the speed of the South China players may catch the visitors unawares.
"They have some quick players," he said. "There are a couple of Brazilians who give good quality to the side, one in midfield, one at the back.
"The one in midfield, Ticao, is a left-footer and is good at pulling the strings. He gets them playing."
Sunderland's new signing Jozy Altidore, 23, said he couldn't wait for the tournament.
"It's really exciting," said American, who scored 23 goals in the Dutch Eredivisie for Alkmaar last season.
"This is what every player dreams of, to go to places like that and play in front of a lot of people. We'll be playing against good teams, too. I'm excited and I'm sure the guys are too. For this, and to get the season going."
Meanwhile, a survey of Premier League managers conducted for the tournament sponsors by the League Managers Association, saw fans in Asia voted the most passionate in the world.
A third of the managers polled plumped for Asia, with Germany chosen second with 26 per cent of the vote and England third on 13 per cent.