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Chinese Super League

Chinese footballers ‘weak’ and tactically inferior to South Koreans, says former coach of struggling big-spenders Jiangsu Suning

South Korean resigned this week after Chinese Super League strugglers exited the AFC Champions League at the hands of domestic rivals Shanghai SIPG

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 04 June, 2017, 3:38pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 04 June, 2017, 10:47pm

Departed Jiangsu Suning coach Choi Yong-soo claimed he was let down by “weak” Chinese players who were 25 per cent less able to carry out instructions than their South Korean counterparts following his exit from the Chinese Super League club this week.

Jiangsu’s midweek AFC Champions League exit at the hands of fellow Super League side Shanghai SIPG was the last straw from Choi, who claimed he resigned with the last season’s runners-up struggling in the lower reaches of the table with just one win all season.

But after the under-pressure strugglers were hounded by unhappy supporters following Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat by high-flying Hebei CFFC, fans claimed the former South Korea international had been made a “scapegoat”.

Choi’s departure did little to ease the anger of fans as they encircled the exit from the dressing room and demanded answers from the team following the latest defeat.

“CSL clubs possess world-class hardware facilities and the level of the coaching staff is quite high, but Chinese players’ understanding is relatively weak,” said Choi after returning to Korea to rejoin FC Seoul, who he left in June last year to take up the role with Jiangsu.

Watch: Jiangsu Suning 1-2 Hebei CFFC highlights

“If you use the same tactics, Korean players will carry it out 85 per cent of the time, but Chinese players will only carry it out less than 60 per cent of the time, and that makes foreign coaches hard to display their ability.”

Brazilian Aloisio scored two second-half goals at Nanjing Olympic Sports Centre to cancel out Ji Xiang’s opener for Jiangsu just before half-time as the home side suffered a sixth defeat in 12 games.

Shanghai SIPG progress to quarter-finals of AFC Champions League

Jiangsu pushed Guangzhou Evergrande all the way at the end of last season, eventually finishing seven points behind the six-time domestic champions, but this season the side from Nanjing now sit second from bottom with just eight points heading into the international break.

“We will have a short break in the next two weeks. I have only been with the team since yesterday, so I will communicate with them heart to heart first and then later I will consider more about the technique and tactics,” said caretaker coach Li jinyu.

“Our situation is very bad now and we’ve realised the crisis we are in. We have to sit down and talk over it and try to solve the problems. I hope we can make changes on both the players and the tactics during this break.”

Only midfielder Wu Xi has been named in Marcello Lippi’s China squad for this week’s friendly with the Philippines and Fifa World Cup qualifier against Syria next week.

‘Room for improvement’ for China but time running out on World Cup chances after Iran defeat

South Korean defender Hong Jeong-ho has also been called up to his national team, but Brazilian duo Ramires and Alex Teixeira as well as Colombian Roger Martinez have not been considered for selection.

Technical director Walter Sabatini is believed to have made progress in the search for a permanent replacement for Choi, with former Udinese and Swansea City coach Francesco Guidolin thought to be amongst the favourites.