Marcello Lippi: China Needs to Learn How to Focus against Iran
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Marcello Lippi said China national football team needs to learn how to focus for an entire game ahead of its Asian Cup quarter-final with Iran.
The Italian World Cup-winning coach hailed his players after they overcame Thailand 2-1 to reach the last eight, saying they had proved they were among the best in Asia.
But Lippi, 70, said China still had a habit of drifting in and out of games after another Jekyll-and-Hyde performance in which they trailed 1-0 midway through the second half.
"Chinese players have to improve psychologically," Lippi, who is expected to leave China after the Asian Cup following two-and-a-half years at the helm, told AFP.
"Sometimes they need to be much more focused and concentrated and pay more attention during the game. It's a psychological thing. It's very important to have the same intensity, the same determination from the beginning of the game," the Italian coach added.
But Iran, Asia's top-ranked team, will provide a much stiffer test and the expectation is that after Thursday's game in Abu Dhabi, Chinese players will be packing their bags.
Lippi already appeared to be defending his record when he volunteered statistics that in his 10 competitive matches, China has won six and lost only two, to Iran and South Korea.
"That means I have to be very proud of my players," he said, adding: "I'm very satisfied because this team is getting great results and we're in the quarter-finals, which means we're one of the top eight Asian teams."