Shenzhen FC moved quickly and have named Jordi Cruyff as the club’s new manager after Roberto Donadoni’s departure this week.
The Italian was sacked by the club after a run of disappointing losses, having started the 2020 season with an impressive 3-0 victory over Guangzhou R&F.
Since the opening day of the season, losses to Shanghai Shenhua, Guangzhou Evergrande and Henan Jianye followed with a tough match against Shandong Luneng tomorrow (15th August).
After the 2-1 loss to Henan, where Shenzhen ended the match 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 were reportedly linked with the vacancy, including former three-time Changchun Yatai boss Svetozar Sapuric, but the position was ultimately filled by former Chongqing Lifan manager Jordi Cruyff.
Cruyff, son of footballing legend Johan, returns to China after a brief spell in charge of the Ecuador national team – where he did not have the opportunity to take charge of a match thanks to the worldwide Coronavirus pandemic.
In his first stint in the middle kingdom, Cruyff ended the 2018 season with Chongqing in 13th place before he made improvements to the team and saw them move up to 10th a year later.
He opted not to re-sign with the club, taking up the opportunity with Ecuador back in January 2020.
With Shenzhen desperate to remain in the Chinese Super League, having seen their spot in the top tier only reinstated thanks to the dissolution of Tianjin Tianhai, improvements needed to be made almost immediately and the club will be hoping they get that with Cruyff.
Shenzhen signed a number of high-profile Chinese players prior to this season, with former Guangzhou Evergrande legend Gao Lin now joining Cruyff’s coaching staff alongside his playing duties.
Survival in the league is a must for this club this season and Cruyff will have an opportunity to assess his squad before the September transfer window opens – allowing him to make changes where necessary.
Cruyff will need to spend time in quarantine before he joins up with his team so he may not be seen on the sideline for at least two more weeks, but will undoubtedly be in contact with his staff to try and put things into place before his arrival.