Former Finland international Mixu Paatelainen was unveiled as Hong Kong’s new head coach on Tuesday, filling the role left by Gary White last year. “Obviously, I’m absolutely delighted,” Paatelainen said. “I’m honoured to be given the chance to come and be the head coach of the Hong Kong national team. “I’m looking very much forward to doing my utmost to help the team to improve and help football improve as a whole.” “It’s a wonderful opportunity. I’m very honoured and thankful to be given the chance. “I’m looking forward to working with the FA. From the first moment that I started talking to people, the CEO and everybody else at the Hong Kong FA, I realised there is a real desire to develop and go forward. “ I want to be involved with an attitude like that.” Former Finland coach Mixu Paatelainen tipped to take over as Hong Kong coach Paatelainen is keen on getting started and “working together with the other coaches to strengthen Hong Kong’s playing style through the age groups and to the representative side.” He has been studying videos and likes what he has seen. “I’m delighted to realise there is a real hard work attitude among the players. It is the first thing always, the effort.” We welcome Mixu Paatelainen! pic.twitter.com/b1lfoYSiyj — Thorlakur Arnason (@ThorlakurA) April 9, 2019 <!--//--><![CDATA[// ><!--\n\n\n//--><!]]> The Finn’s goals are simple: “My aim is to bring youngsters whenever they are ready” and “hopefully give our supporters memorable positive moments when we play”. Paatelainen was most recently in charge of Latvia’s national side and Hong Kong is his third job in international football, having also managed his native Finland. The Finn’s managerial résumé includes several Scottish clubs, Thai side Ubon United and TPS in Finland. His playing career was largely spent in Scotland, including at Hibernian and Dundee United, who he would later manage, and England. Paatelainen was the first Finn to play in the English Premier League when he was with Bolton Wanderers. Gary White quits Hong Kong: new coach leaves post to join Japanese J.League club Tokyo Verdy after just three months in role Despite his experience being grounded in the Scottish leagues, Paatelainen will not be looking to impose the direct style associated with Scottish football in Hong Kong. “I don’t think I should come here and say I want to bring this aspect from, for example, the British game or European game. “Players decide the tactics, players decide what approach we are going to take. First and foremost we want to be hard to beat. That gives us a platform and a chance to do well. It doesn’t mean that you are negative. You can be hard to beat in different ways.” Paatelainen was quick to deal with concerns that he is unfamiliar with Hong Kong football, saying: “It will not take long to get to know the players. It will not take long to get to know the coaches. “I think it’s very important that whenever we talk about a smaller place like Hong Kong, it’s important that we work together. I want to have a close working relationship with the club coaches.” HKFA chairman Brian Leung Hung-tak was encouraged by the Paatelainen’s desire to work alongside the club coaches. Gary White: ‘Everybody thought I was crazy when I said Hong Kong could qualify’ Leung said the hiring process was difficult with more than 100 applicants, but he hopes they have got the right man for the job. Paatelainen is contracted to 2020 but he is in the unique position for a Hong Kong head coach of having plenty of games on the horizon. His first will be a friendly with Taiwan on June 11 before World Cup qualifying in September. He is “looking forward” to those World Cup qualifiers but is aware that his team will only meet up for the June fixture before qualifiers start. “We’ll do our best. We’ll always do our best to play well.” There will be six qualifiers between September and November before Hong Kong head to South Korea to play in the EAFF Championships in December, where they will meet the hosts, Japan and China. Paatelainen described those as “very tough” but said he was “optimistic” and the team will go to South Korea with a “positive attitude”. “Whenever you work for a smaller nation or a smaller club you are up against it,” he said, but he described himself as a “coach who rolls his sleeves up and works with the players”. The new boss talked of his long-term aims of establishing an identity and going toward the next Asia Cup, which he acknowledges is beyond a contract that he is open to extending.