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Gus Poyet backed by Shanghai Shenhua amid calls to be sacked

Gus Poyet took over at Shanghai Shenhua in November 2016.

Shanghai Shenhua president Wu Xiaohui has given his backing to Gus Poyet despite calls from sections of the club's support to remove him from his position as head coach.

Poyet's team are 10th in the 16-team Chinese Super League and have struggled since the former Sunderland and Brighton boss replaced Gregorio Manzano at the start of the season, leading to calls for him to be replaced.

But Wu has backed his club's head coach, and said Poyet would remain with Shenhua.

"Poyet out? We never gave a thought about it," said Wu after seeing his team defeat Beijing Guoan to book their place in the quarterfinals of the Chinese FA Cup on Wednesday evening.

"It's not happening and won't happen in a long time."

Shenhua have struggled so far this season, picking up just 13 points in their first 12 games to sit in 10th although they have played one game fewer than the teams around them.

The signing of Carlos Tevez from Boca Juniors captured headlines around the world, but he has struggled with injury and form since his arrival in China.

Shanghai finished in fourth place in last season's standings to qualify for the preliminary rounds of the Asian Champions League, but were eliminated from the continental competition by Australia's Brisbane Roar in what was Poyet's first official game in charge.

Matters have not improved much since. Shenhua registered an impressive 4-0 win over Jiangsu Suning in their opening game of the season, but it was a false dawn.

Poyet's team have since lost five of their next 11 league matches and have not won in the CSL since a 2-0 win over Guizhou Zhicheng in late April.

"My pressure comes from my work not from the scores and results," Poyet said. "If you work with me you will know that we work very hard every day.

"I came to Shenhua for many reasons, one of them is to help this team. Maybe I won't stay here in the future, but I hope the efforts I'm giving now can help the club in the future.

"When a team doesn't get good results the head coach will get fired, but as a head coach I work hard every day."

Michael Church has written about Asian football for more than 20 years and mainly covers the Chinese game for ESPN FC. Twitter: @michaelrgchurch

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