Shenzhen FC acted quickly and appointed Jordi Cruyff as the club’s new manager following the departure of Roberto Donadoni this week.
The Italian was sacked by the club after a disappointing losing streak, having started the 2020 season with an impressive 3-0 victory over Guangzhou R&F.
From day one of the season, losses to Shanghai Shenhua, Guangzhou Evergrande and Henan Jianye followed with a tough game against Shandong Luneng tomorrow (August 15).
After the 2-1 loss to Henan, where Shenzhen finished the game with ten men after Zhang Yuan’s red card, Donadoni was relieved of his duties and the search for his replacement began in earnest.
A number of people have reportedly been linked to the vacant post, including three-time former Changchun Yatai boss Svetozar Sapuric, but the post was ultimately filled by former Chongqing Lifan manager Jordi Cruyff.
Cruyff, son of football legend Johan, returns to China after a brief stint at the helm of Ecuador’s national team – where he was denied a chance to take charge of a game thanks to the global pandemic of coronavirus.
In his first stint in the Middle Kingdom, Cruyff finished the 2018 season with Chongqing in 13th place before making improvements to the team and seeing them move up to 10th place a year later.
He chose not to re-sign with the club, seizing the opportunity with Ecuador in January 2020.
With Shenzhen desperate to stay in the Chinese Super League, having seen his place in the high-end only restored thanks to the disbandment of Tianjin Tianhai, improvements were expected to be made almost immediately and the club are hoping to secure it with Cruyff.
Shenzhen has signed a number of top Chinese players ahead of this season, former Guangzhou Evergrande legend Gao Lin, who is now joining Cruyff’s coaching staff in addition to his playing duties.
Survival in the league is a must for this club this season and Cruyff will have the opportunity to assess his squad ahead of the September transfer window opening, allowing him to make changes if needed.
Cruyff will need to spend some time in quarantine before joining his squad so he won’t be seen on the sidelines for at least two more weeks, but will undoubtedly be in contact with his staff to try to put things in place before he arrives . .