Vil­las-Boas re­places Eriks­son at Shang­hai

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

SHANG­HAI:

For­mer Chelsea and Spurs boss An­dre Vil­las-Boas was un­veiled as the new coach of Shang­hai SIPG yes­ter­day, re­plac­ing Sven-Go­ran Eriks­son who was shown the door af­ter guid­ing the team to third in the Chi­nese Su­per League.

The highly re­garded Vil­las-Boas, who left Zenit St. Peters­burg in May, bucks the trend of age­ing man­agers cash­ing in on China’s football boom as he is just 39 and may have his best years ahead of him.

SIPG be­lieves the Por­tuguese “can fur­ther en­rich the team’s tac­tics”, mo­ti­vate play­ers and “lead the team to march to­wards higher goals,” the club said in a state­ment.

His ap­point­ment, widely trailed in Chi­nese me­dia, was con­firmed shortly af­ter SIPG an­nounced Eriks­son’s de­par­ture fol­low­ing “friendly dis­cus­sions”, end­ing a two-year reign. “We sin­cerely hope ev­ery­thing goes well for Mr. Eriks­son’s fu­ture work and life,” SIPG said on a ver­i­fied so­cial me­dia ac­count.

SIPG were run­ners-up in the CSL in Eriks­son’s first year at the club, giv­ing them a place in this sea­son’s AFC Cham­pi­ons League, where they reached the last eight.

But Eriks­son’s fate may have been sealed when SIPG crashed out to South Korea’s Jeon­buk Hyundai Mo­tors, em­bar­rass­ingly los­ing the sec­ond leg 5-0.

SIPG have been among China’s big­gest spenders as money pours into the Chi­nese game. This year they cap­tured Brazil­ian for­ward Hulk for a re­ported 55 mil­lion euro ($60 mil­lion).

Vil­las-Boas be­comes just the lat­est high­pro­file coach to be lured to China, whose riches have be­come a mag­net for top for­eign man­agers and play­ers.

The Por­tuguese was only 33 when he won the Europa League with Porto in 2011, the pre­lude to spells at Chelsea and Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur before his two-year stint at Zenit St. Peters­burg.

He is notably much younger than his for­eign peers in­clud­ing Guangzhou Ever­grande’s Luiz Felipe Sco­lari (67), He­bei China For­tune’s Manuel Pellegrini (63) and Shan­dong Luneng’s Felix Ma­gath (63). Swe­den’s Eriks­son, 68, coached Eng­land from 2001-2006 and went on to lead Manch­ester City and Le­ices­ter City. His first job in China was at Guangzhou R&F in 2013.

The CSL has a rep­u­ta­tion for a quick turn­around of man­agers and Eriks­son is not the first to be shown the door af­ter a pe­riod of mod­er­ate suc­cess.

In 2012, Guangzhou Ever­grande re­placed Lee Jang-Soo with Mar­cello Lippi mid-sea­son af­ter the Korean coach had taken them to pro­mo­tion and the CSL ti­tle in con­sec­u­tive years. Ever­grande also moved swiftly to re­place Lippi’s even­tual suc­ces­sor, Fabio Can­navaro, with Luiz Felipe Sco­lari af­ter the Ital­ian had guided them to the top of the ta­ble last year. — AFP

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