Concentration key for Guangzhou - Zhang

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, November 9, 2013
Adjust font size:

Defender Zhang Linpeng has insisted Guangzhou Evergrande must raise their levels of concentration ahead of Saturday's AFC Champions League final second leg as Marcello Lippi's side look to end China's 23-year wait for a second continental title.

 Right-back Zhang Linpeng has missed just one game for Chinese champions Guangzhou Evergrande in the AFC Champions League this season.

 Right-back Zhang Linpeng has missed just one game for Chinese champions Guangzhou Evergrande in the AFC Champions League this season.

Guangzhou were forced to settle for a 2-2 draw in last month's first leg at Seoul World Cup Stadium having made a slow start before conceding a late equaliser either side of goals from Elkeson and Gao Lin.

But with an expectant capacity crowd anticipated at Tianhe Stadium on Saturday as Guangzhou seek to follow in the footsteps of 1990 Asian Club Championship winners Liaoning, Zhang knows it is now time for Marcello Lippi's side to deliver the required performance.

"It has been a long process for us to reach this stage. We have achieved this as a result of good team work and we will strive to do our best in the final," said the 24-year-old.

"FC Seoul are a good team and we had problems in the first leg, especially in the second half as we were a bit loose in defence. We need to pay more attention in the second leg and strike back.

"For me it is just another match, I am not putting pressure on myself or the team. We will look to play our own game at our level.

"We want win every match, everyone works together to win. FC Seoul are a strong team and it will be tough but we will prepare our best to win the match."

Right-back Zhang injured his ankle in the semi-final second leg win over Japan's Kashiwa Reysol, but despite missing last weekend's win over Wuhan, he is expected to feature at the weekend with Lippi set to name the same side for a fourth consecutive game in the competition.

Zhang has been one of the standout performers for Guangzhou this season, with the versatile defender having missed just one game during the campaign been sent-off at the end of Guangzhou's solitary defeat by Japan's Urawa Reds during the group stage.

But thankfully for Guangzhou, Zhang has largely removed that reckless aspect from his all round game, and he is now more known for his marauding runs from right-back.

"When I was sent-off in Japan it was a good and bad experience. I lost control of my emotions, but after this experience I have become more mature," added Zhang, who joined Guangzhou from Shanghai East Asia at the end of 2010.

"I am not only a defender; I attack more as the coach wants us to attack more to support the team. We do a lot of work on this in training and he encourages me to make the overlapping runs.

"I just want to be good defender to help my team, I don't think much about scoring. It is just important to take care of my defensive work."

World Cup-winning coach Lippi joined midway through the 2011 campaign and is looking to become the first coach to win both the UEFA and AFC Champions League titles having triumphed with Juventus in 1996.

"Everyone can tell that the team has improved over the two years since Marcello Lippi was appointed as the coach and I have learned a lot," said China international Zhang.

"He encourages me a lot and all I want to do is my job. He has helped me a lot, especially because he supports me. Lippi's will to win helps me a lot."

Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from