Eriks­son to lead Shen­zhen FC

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

For­mer Eng­land coach SvenGo­ran Eriks­son yes­ter­day took charge of sec­ond-division Chi­nese club Shen­zhen FC, leav­ing the top tier of China foot­ball for the chal­lenge of lift­ing a team out of rel­e­ga­tion.

Eriks­son, who has raised the for­tunes of Chi­nese Su­per League sides Guangzhou R&F and Shang­hai SIPG in his three sea­sons coach­ing in the coun­try, parted ways with SIPG last month de­spite lead­ing them to a third-place fin­ish. Af­ter be­ing in­tro­duced as Shen­zhen’s skip­per in a press con­fer­ence in the south­ern Chi­nese city near Hong Kong, the Swede said he wasn’t ready to leave China and the fast growth of foot­ball in the coun­try.

“I’ve been in China for three and a half years and I feel that I still want to work with foot­ball in China,” he told AFP, call­ing Shen­zhen FC a “big club with big am­bi­tions.”

“Hope­fully we will play good foot­ball and hope­fully we will win a lot of foot­ball matches. That’s the tar­get of course. Try­ing very, very hard to achieve the goal, and the goal is to go up to Su­per league.”

Eriks­son re­places for­mer Dutch in­ter­na­tional Clarence See­dorf, who took over at Shen­zhen in July but failed to win pro­mo­tion to the Chi­nese Su­per League.

Shen­zhen said it ex­pected Eriks­son’s “rich coach­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, ad­vanced foot­ball phi­los­o­phy, and in­ti­mate knowl­edge of Chi­nese foot­ball” to bring success.

Eriks­son left Shang­hai SIPG, one of China’s big­gest clubs, last month af­ter two sea­sons in charge. SIPG were CSL run­ners-up in Eriks­son’s first year at the club and reached the AFC Cham­pi­ons League for the first time.

The made the last eight of the 2016 Cham­pi­ons League com­pe­ti­tion but crashed out to the even­tual cham­pi­ons from South Korea Jeon­buk Hyundai Mo­tors, los­ing the sec­ond leg by an em­bar­rass­ing 5-0.

Eriks­son coached Eng­land from 2001-2006 and went on to lead Manch­ester City and Le­ices­ter City.

Shen­zhen FC thanked See­dorf for his con­tri­bu­tions but oth­er­wise gave no rea­son for his de­par­ture. The team have lan­guished in China’s sec­ond tier since be­ing rel­e­gated in 2011. As a player, See­dorf won do­mes­tic and con­ti­nen­tal ti­tles in his na­tive Nether­lands, Spain, Italy and Brazil but his man­age­rial ca­reer has been less dis­tin­guished and he was dis­missed by Mi­lan in 2014 af­ter just four months in the job. The CSL has a rep­u­ta­tion for abrupt man­age­rial turn­around.

SIPG said in Novem­ber Eriks­son was leav­ing fol­low­ing “friendly dis­cus­sions” and it quickly re­placed him with for­mer Chelsea and Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur man­ager An­dre Vil­lasBoas. Shang­hai Shen­hua last week named for­mer Uruguay in­ter­na­tional Gus­tavo Poyet as their new coach af­ter cut­ting ties with his Span­ish pre­de­ces­sor Gre­go­rio Man­zano de­spite a fourth-place CSL fin­ish that earned them an AFC Cham­pi­ons League spot. — AFP

Sven-Go­ran Eriks­son

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