BEIJING - China's national
football coach has been ordered to lead the squad to the final four of next
month's Asian Cup and avoid the errors that led to a recent defeat to Thailand,
state media said Monday.
Embattled coach Zhu Guanghu, ordered to Beijing for two days of talks with
top officials following last week's humiliating 1-0 loss in Bangkok, said he was
given an ultimatum.
"I was told, 'get to the last four or else'," Zhu told Monday's Titan Sports
The 1-0 setback in Bangkok on Wednesday, China's first loss to Thailand in 14
years, led to calls for Zhu's ouster but he said the football association
expressed confidence in him.
He said he was told by China's Football Association chief Xie Yalong to do
whatever was necessary in terms of reshuffling the side or changing tactics in
order to improve the team's chances at July's Asian Cup in Thailand, Vietnam,
Indonesia and Malaysia.
Zhu argued that the team which played against Thailand was basically a
second-string side deprived of many of its European-based players and with only
two or three members who would make it to the Asian Cup team.
"For the Asian Cup there are going to be changes, whether they be in
personnel or tactics," he said, "Certainly there will be no repetition of what
happened in Bangkok."
He took the blame for tactical errors in Bangkok and for failing to take into
consideration the sapping effect of the Bangkok heat on his players.
"I never though the heat would have such a killing effect on the players," he
"If we had tried to control the ball and keep possession and save our energy
... we may have had a better result."
Zhu took over the national team in March 2005 after their failure to qualify
for last year's World Cup under predecessor Arie Haan. However, a string of
disappointing performances has kept him under the gun since.