Experienced Australian striker Daniel McBreen has urged Shanghai East Asia not to get carried away and remain focused after shocking the Chinese Super League by sitting top after the first four games.
A draw against Liaoning away, followed by wins against Shanghai Shenxin, Hangzhou Greentown and most impressively Beijing Guoan see East Asia a point clear of champions Guangzhou Evergrande and third placed Guoan.
On his sides impressive start, McBreen told Wild East Football , “It’s been a great start to the season for the team obviously with us sitting in first position, I feel we were unlucky not to win the first game which would’ve meant a perfect start,” says the 36 year old.
“It’s very early days and although we must enjoy being in this position it is important to keep everybody’s feet firmly on the ground and keep ourselves focused every week on the job at hand. It’s an old cliché but we’re not looking any further ahead than this weekend.”
East Asia have a run of fixtures that could encourage their continued good fortune with Henan away this weekend, Changchun at home, Dalian away, Shanghai Shenhua at home before the big game April 30th away at the CSL Champions Evergrande.
After a dogged 1-0 win over Beijing Guoan thanks to a goal by McBreen’s strike partner Tobias Hysén, it maybe be unwise to dismiss East Asia at present as the Guoan result suggested.
“Guoan are obviously a strong team and to grind out a win shows that we have some quality players here who can work together well to get results,” said McBreen.
Hysén, capped 31 times by Sweden, has had an impressive start to CSL life following spells at Sunderland in England and IFK Gothenburg in his homeland. McBreen speaks highly of his four goal strike partner who struggled to make an impact during preseason.
“Toby is my roommate and we get on great, he was frustrated in preseason as he hadn’t scored a goal and I told him preseason doesn’t matter, it’s what happens in the season,” he said.
“He’s really turned it on in the goal scoring stakes, hopefully that can continue and we can keep the 3 points rolling in.”
McBreen points to the fact that East Asia’s good start is down to the team working better together this season, an improvement on his loan spell in the second half of 2013.
“I do think we are working much better as a unit this year and utilizing the different attributes of each player in their position to function much better as a cohesive unit. Hopefully we can continue to improve on this as the team is more important than any individual and so far that attitude has paid dividends for us,” he said.
On his own performance though McBreen, who was A-League golden boot with Central Coast Mariners in the 2012-13 season, seems content despite his own lack of goals in the opening fixtures.
“I think I’ve played relatively well so far this season, I am loving playing in the number 10 role,” he said.
“I would’ve liked to have got off the mark scoring-wise but as I said the most important is the team performance and 3 points so it’s irrelevant who scores as long as the results are coming in.”
Beijing-based Peter Davis has followed Chinese football since 2008 and is a regular contributor to Wild East Football. He can be found on Twitter and Weibo @peteydavis