Football: Andre Villas-Boas joins Shanghai, eyes Chinese title

Andre Villas-Boas, the newly announced football coach for Shanghai SIPG, speaks during a press conference in Shanghai on Nov 4, 2016.
Andre Villas-Boas, the newly announced football coach for Shanghai SIPG, speaks during a press conference in Shanghai on Nov 4, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

Shanghai (AFP) - Former Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas said he hoped to break Guangzhou Evergrande's stranglehold on the Chinese Super League as he was unveiled as Shanghai SIPG's new coach on Friday, replacing the axed Sven-Goran Eriksson.

The well-regarded Portuguese manager, nicknamed "AVB", appeared in front of media in Shanghai shortly after big-spending SIPG announced the end of Eriksson's two-year reign.

Villas-Boas, 39, represents a fresh young face for foreign managers in the Chinese Super League, whose riches have become a magnet for top coaches and players.

He immediately took aim at the CSL title, annexed by Luiz Felipe Scolari's Evergrande who lifted the trophy for the sixth season in a row last month.

"It's a different challenge in my career," said Villas-Boas, who also coached Tottenham Hotspur and called a halt to his last job, at Russia's Zenit St. Petersburg, in May.

"Our focus will be to put a team together that is stronger, that is able to compete in all competitions," he said. "But most of all, to bring joy to our fans with the Chinese championship next year."

SIPG's general manager Sui Guoyang declined to put a figure on the contract signed by Villas-Boas but he said it was "definitely not one year" in duration.

He underlined the club's high ambitions when he added that SIPG wanted to win at least one of the CSL, AFC Champions League and Chinese FA Cup next season.

Villas-Boas's appointment, widely trailed in Chinese media, was confirmed shortly after SIPG announced Eriksson's departure following "friendly discussions".

"We sincerely hope everything goes well for Mr. Eriksson's future work and life," SIPG said on a verified social media account.

A later SIPG statement said that Villas-Boas "can further enrich the team's tactics", motivate players and "lead the team to march towards higher goals".

SIPG were runners-up in the CSL in Eriksson's first year at the club, giving them a place in this season's AFC Champions League, where they reached the quarter-finals. But Eriksson's fate may have been sealed when they crashed out to South Korea's Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors, embarrassingly losing the second leg 5-0.