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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Feb, 6, 2007

Chinese guests blast Chelsea training facilities

BEIJING, Feb 6 (Reuters) - China's 2008 Olympic team lost their first match against a Chelsea XI 1-0 on Monday while officials moved to quell complaints about the pitch at the English champions' training centre.

Chinese media reported complaints from the under-21 side about the state of the facilities at the London club's Cobham centre, where they are training for two weeks.

'The pitch isn't as good as we imagined,' Zhou Haibin, a midfielder with Chinese champions Shandong Luneng, told Titan sports newspaper.

'It doesn't matter if we eat or live a little worse. We come here to train. But now food and accommodation are good while the pitch is so bad.'

Coach Ratomir Dujkovic said the pitch was the only problem.

'I'm satisfied with almost everything here, but the pitch is too wet,' the Serb told Xinhua news agency.

Before the match at Brentford, a sometimes testy affair which was won by a free-kick from Spaniard Sergio Tejera, Chelsea released a statement from a China team spokesman.

'We have been training in Cobham for almost one week,' he said. 'We are so impressed by the great pitches and facilities provided to us in Cobham training centre.

'All young players are very excited about such experiences and the coaching staffs are interested in the various workshops etc.

'Every one of the team is satisfied with the training and life here in Cobham and would like to thank again everyone who has made efforts in turning this into reality.'

Chelsea's invitation for the China squad for the Beijing Olympics to train in England is part of a project by the English champions to develop what the club sees as one of its key markets.

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