Chinese Super League

Paulo Sousa leaves Chinese Super League side Tianjin Quanjian by mutual consent with club in relegation dogfight

Portuguese leaves the club after guiding them to AFC Champions League quarter-finals in debut campaign but transfers hindered him

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 October, 2018, 11:38am
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 October, 2018, 11:41am

Portuguese manager Paulo Sousa has left Chinese Super League side Tianjin Quanjian by mutual consent, the club announced on Thursday morning.

The 48-year-old leaves after 11 months in charge of the Tianjin side, who finished fourth under Fabio Cannavaro last season to qualify for the AFC Champions League.

The former Fiorentina manager oversaw victory over his predecessor’s new side Guangzhou Evergrande in the knockout stages of the competition but then lost to Japanese J.League side Kashima Antlers in the quarter-finals.

The second leg of that game had to be played in Macau after the Chinese side failed to secure a suitable alternative venue to their own ground.

Sousa was also hamstrung by losing midfielder Axel Witsel to Borussia Dortmund after the Chinese Super League transfer window closed and by star striker Anthony Modeste refusing to play because of an ongoing contract dispute.

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Sousa becomes the eighth full-time managerial casualty of the 2018 season.

There are six games of the season left and Tianjin Quanjian sit 13th in the 16-team table.

They are at risk of returning to China League One, which they won in 2016.

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Tianjin Quanjian travel to third-place Shandong Luneng on Friday, with Shen Xiangfu reported to be in temporary charge of the side.