Sven-Goran Eriksson replaces Clarence Seedorf at Shenzhen FC
Former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson has been appointed as the new head coach of Chinese second division side Shenzhen FC, taking over from Clarence Seedorf.
Eriksson, who left Shanghai SIPG at the end of the just-completed Chinese Super League season to be replaced by Andre Villas-Boas, has been tasked with taking his new club into the top flight of Chinese football next season.
"It will be a new challenge for me," the Swede, who has also managed Manchester City, Leicester City, Roma and Lazio said. "I share the same target as the club has: to bring the team to the Chinese Super League. I believe that if we work closely with the players, the fans and the club, we can accomplish it. Football is not only about 11 players, but it is a sport that needs everyone to work as one.
"Shenzhen is a big metropolitan area, I know the history of it. I spent the last week hanging around the city and I found myself very fond of it. It has been developing very fast. I like it here very much. I appreciate the club's ambitions and although there will be lots of pressure and expectation, I am happy to face it."
Shenzhen missed out on promotion last season after finishing in ninth position under Seedorf, 19 points behind promoted duo Tianjin Quanjian and Guizhou Zhicheng, and the club is expected to spend heavily on players as part of their move to secure top-flight status.
But Eriksson denied speculation he would sign former Guangzhou Evergrande duo Dario Conca and Elkeson from his ex-employers in Shanghai.
"Conca and Elkeson won't join Shenzhen FC," he said. "Conca is injured for a long time and Elkeson won't leave Shanghai either. But we will try to get some new faces, I can be sure of this. But I can't tell you who now. For the moment I am really looking forward to meeting the team tomorrow."
Eriksson admitted he knew little about the second tier of Chinese football, but he remains confident he can lead the team into the Chinese Super League.
"Everyone knows in China football is becoming very competitive," he said. "It won't be an easy mission to bring Shenzhen to the CSL. But I am confident we will get there as long as we all work together.
"I didn't know much about China League One, but in my coaching team we have people with three years' experience in this league. Of course I have also watched lots of match videos. I have become very familiar with my players, and I know where and how to improve the team."
Michael Church has written about Asian football for more than 20 years and mainly covers the Chinese game for ESPN FC. Twitter: @michaelrgchurch