HONG KONG (Reuters) - Chinese footballers lack tactical understanding much of the time, former Jiangsu Suning coach Choi Yong-soo said, days after leaving the Chinese Super League (CSL) to return to his native South Korea.
Choi resigned from his position at the helm of the Nanjing-based club on Thursday after seeing his side eliminated from the Asian Champions League by fellow Chinese club Shanghai SIPG and has returned to FC Seoul, where he won the Korean league title in 2012.
While the former South Korea World Cup striker praised the facilities available within the rapidly growing CSL and the coaching on offer from foreign imports, he criticised the standard of local players.
“CSL clubs possess world-class hardware facilities and the level of the coaching staff is quite high but Chinese players’ understanding is relatively weak,” Choi said on his return to South Korea.
“If you use the same tactics, Korean players will carry it out 85 percent of the time but Chinese players will only carry it out less than 60 percent of the time, and that makes (it) hard (for) foreign coaches to display their ability.”
Chinese Super League clubs have invested huge sums to lure some of the world’s leading coaches to the country, with league champions Guangzhou Evergrande led by Brazilian World Cup winner Luiz Felipe Scolari while Shanghai SIPG spent big to hire UEFA Cup winner Andre Villas-Boas of Portugal.
The national team are coached by Italian World Cup and UEFA Champions League winner Marcello Lippi but stand on the verge of elimination from the qualification rounds for next year’s World Cup finals in Russia.
Editing by Clare Fallon