Lifan hires Cruyff in relegation dogfight

AFP
Jordi Cruyff vowed to give "200 percent" as the son of Dutch legend Johan was unveiled as the new coach of relegation-threatened Chinese Super League side Chongqing Lifan.
AFP

Jordi Cruyff vowed to give “200 percent” as the son of Dutch legend Johan was unveiled as the new coach of relegation-threatened Chinese Super League side Chongqing Lifan.

The 44-year-old Dutchman, who as a player had stints at Barcelona and Manchester United, was head coach of Israeli team Maccabi Tel Aviv until stepping down in June.

Cruyff, a former midfielder who made nine appearances for the Netherlands but never got close to the achievements of his famous father, replaces Paulo Bento.

The Portuguese was in charge for just 14 games at Lifan, winning only four of them.

Lifan, in southwest China, is 14th in the 16-team CSL with half the season gone, just two points above 15th-placed Dalian Yifang. The bottom two teams are demoted at the end of the season.

“I understand the situation of the team, they need to adapt and work quickly. I came here to work immediately from today and bring stability,” Cruyff, who will bring in his own backroom staff, told a press conference.

“I believe in the players and the quality that is here. We need to give them confidence, but I see enough potential to get immediate results.”

Cruyff, whose career in coaching also took him to Malta and Cyprus, added: “I don’t want to talk too much, I just want to start working.”

Cruyff’s first game is on Saturday when Lifan hosts second-placed Shandong Luneng.

The CSL has in recent years brought in an array of overseas players and coaches on handsome contracts.


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