HONG KONG: Chinese coach Li Tie (Photo) wants his players to experience the confidence boost playing their Asian World Cup qualifiers in front of their own supporters as they prepare to return home after a difficult two-month stay in the Middle East.
Former Everton midfielder returns his team to China on Wednesday after witnessing the impact of a partisan crowd when his team lost 3-2 to Saudi Arabia in front of more than 50,000 fans at King Abdullah Sport City of Jeddah.
China has yet to play at home in the mainland’s World Cup playoffs due to restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic, but Li hopes that will change soon.
“We really want to play our home games in front of the Chinese fans, it will be a great motivation for our players,” Li said after his team’s third loss in four games.
The Chinese, who are trying to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since their first appearance in 2002, have played their four matches so far on foreign soil.
Pandemic restrictions in China have disrupted the team’s preparations, forcing Li and his team to base themselves in the Gulf since August and cede the home advantage in their matches against Japan and Vietnam.
China are expected to play their next two games, against Oman and Australia, at home in November, but no decision has yet been made on where those games will be played.
As they won against Vietnam last week, China lost to the Japanese as well as Australia and Saudi Arabia and Li believes a lack of clarity in the game is hurting his side’s Cup hopes. of the world.
“My team needs to play more high quality friendlies and all players need to adjust to the fast pace of the World Cup qualifying final (s),” Li said.
“We will work very hard to fight for better results in the following matches.” – Reuters