Dragan Stojkovic’s Guangzhou R&F out ‘to bring more trouble’ for Evergrande in derby
Cross-town rivals meet at Tianhe Stadium on Saturday, with the six-time defending Chinese Super League champions out to end the visitors’ 100 per cent record
Coach Dragan Stojkovic wants Chinese Super League high-flyers Guangzhou R&F “to bring more trouble” for defending champions and cross-town rivals Guangzhou Evergrande in Saturday’s eagerly-anticipated derby.
Evergrande have won the last six Super League titles, but heading into the fourth round of fixtures this weekend, Luiz Felipe Scolari’s side are not even the leading side in Guangzhou with R&F boasting a 100 per cent record after three games.
Scolari’s side are just three points worse off after bouncing back from their defeat by Shandong Luneng prior to the international break with a 3-2 win over Shanghai SIPG last weekend, but face another tough test at Tianhe Stadium.
“There are many differences between Evergrande and our team,” said Serbian coach Stojkovic, who joined R&F in August 2015 after eight seasons in Japan with Nagoya Grampus.
“They are a very strong team and they are also very rich, but one thing is for sure is that is we don’t want to give up. We won’t play defensive football, instead we will play very openly and offensively.
“People are paying a lot of attention to this game because it is a derby, but I won’t give extra pressure to my players.
“I am sure this game will be very exciting and it will be very difficult even for Evergrande to win as we want to bring more trouble for them.
“We will always stay together. We will never give up and we have a strong belief that we are doing the right things. Our objective is getting better, but we won’t be complacent after three consecutive wins.”
R&F have yet to concede this season as Stojkovic’s side beat Tianjin Quanjian and Changchun Yatai at home before last weekend’s 1-0 away win over Yanbian Funde.
“We’ve had specific training according to the technique and tactics of R&F this week,” said Evergrande coach Scolari, who missed last week’s win over SIPG due to suspension.
“The quality of the training has been very good and all of the players showed 100% winning desire, and except Xu Xin and Liu Jian, no one is carrying an injury. R&F have had very good results up to now and this team have ability.”
Evergrande were already facing their toughest title challenge yet this season due to the significant expenditure made by SIPG and Shanghai Shenhua, but the inclusion of R&F in the picture at the top of the table is somewhat of a surprise despite Stojkovic leading the side to sixth place last season.
R&F did finish 24 points behind champions Evergrande having split the domestic fixtures between the pair last season, while Evergrande prevailed on aggregate in their FA Cup semi-final.
“I think that this is indeed the mildest derby I have ever experienced in my life,” added Scolari.
“Our coaching staff and the coaching staff of R&F are very good friends and the players of the two sides the same.
“I personally hope that this mildness can continue.This is just a game and it should be based on mutual respect. This is also a reflection of the character of Guangzhou.”
Elsewhere on Saturday, Guizhou Zhicheng entertain Tianjin Teda and Shenhua make the trip to Hebei CFFC.
On Sunday, Changchun Yatai entertain Liaoning Whowin, while Yanbian Funde travel to Tianjin Quanjian.