Luiz Felipe Scolari slams Spanish newspaper over Paulinho 'lies'
Luiz Felipe Scolari launched a scathing attack on Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo on Saturday evening as his Guangzhou Evergrande side returned to winning ways to maintain their position at the top of the Chinese Super League standings.
Scolari's side handed Shandong Luneng a 2-1 defeat to maintain their one-point lead over Shanghai SIPG before the top two teams meet in the league next week.
But while the Brazilian's team celebrated their win, the World Cup winner turned his ire on the Spanish newspaper over reports that Barcelona target Paulinho had been kicked out of training by his head coach during the week.
"This newspaper, Mundo Deportivo, is a liar," Scolari said. "Paulinho has been training throughout the whole week and you saw how he played in today's game too.
"I saw the report, it said I kicked Paulinho out of the training session. Actually, I sent Paulinho, Yu Hanchao and Li Xuepeng out to rest, but they only saw Paulinho.
"If they think one report full of lies can get between me and Paulinho they are naïve. And if they don't think Paulinho is a professional player and that he would treat the game with such a negative attitude, they are beyond naïve.
"These lies won't have any influence on our team."
Guangzhou are believed to have rebuffed two approaches by Barcelona to sign Paulinho. But the club have told the former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder, who has a buy-out clause of 40 millions euros, tat he will not be allowed to leave until the end of the season.
The issue did not stop Scolari from picking the 28-year-old for the meeting with fifth-placed Shandong with Ricardo Goulart giving the champions the lead in first-half injury time.
Graziano Pelle levelled for Shandong on the hour mark before Zou Zheng claimed the winner 10 minutes from time following a mistake by the Shandong defence.
The win was Guangzhou's first in three games and ensured they stayed a point clear of SIPG, who defeated last-placed Yanbian Funde 3-1, thanks to goals from Elkeson, Wu Lei and Hulk.
Beijing Guoan notched up their second win in a row under new coach Roger Schmidt with a 2-0 victory over Guizhou Zhicheng.
Manuel Pellegrini's Hebei CFFC lost for the second game in a row as they were handed a 2-1 loss by Chongqing Lifan to slip further off the pace set by the leading duo.
Elsewhere, Henan Jianye defeated Liaoning Whowin 2-1 as Ma Lin's side lost their sixth game in a row.
Michael Church has written about Asian football for more than 20 years and mainly covers the Chinese game for ESPN FC. Twitter: @michaelrgchurch