Former France international
striker Nicola Anelka hopes Shanghai Shenhua can experience a
Chelsea-like revival after sacking coach and countryman Jean
Tigana was shown the door by the Chinese club on Thursday
after a string of poor results and players turning against him,
saying they were unhappy with his training.
His departure follows three assistant coaches who were
sacked earlier this month by big-spending Shanghai.
Striker Anelka, who doubles up as a member of the coaching
staff, takes heart from former club Chelsea who have gone on a
streak since sacking their coach, Andre Villa-Boas, in March.
The Champions League finalists have lost just once in 15
games since appointing Roberto Di Matteo as interim boss.
"Changing the coach has provided [Chelsea] with a lot more
space for imagination. The change of coach has set the club free
in many aspects and that is why they are in the final," Anelka
"There is a great possibility and a great chance for them to
win the Champions League. I wish them all the best.
"We will try our best to work on the positives with the
change. Of course, Chelsea is Chelsea and Shenhua is Shenhua."
Chinese fans, however, had mixed feelings about the sacking.
"I am a little shocked because if Shenhua wants to develop
as a football club in the long term, they should not terminate
the contract of such a well-known foreign coach so quickly.
Perhaps they would do better to analyse his skills over a longer
period of time," 29-year-old Zhang Yang told Reuters, after
playing a friendly football game with friends at the Shanghai
Hongkou stadium, the home ground of Shanghai Shenhua.
"After Anelka joined the team, I thought it would be
different. But I don't know whether it is the problem with the
players or the head coach, the Shanghai Shenhua team still plays
the same way and did not change at all. I felt it was only a
matter of time before Tigana was sacked," added 24-year-old
Abdulgheni, a football fan from China's Xinjiang Autonomous
Hopes had been high for the Shanghai club after they signed
Tigana as head coach and paraded star striker Anelka ahead of
the start of the season.
The team now sits 10th in the 16-team Chinese Super League,
however, with just two wins from their first seven matches.
The club has named Frenchman Jean-Florent Ikwange Ibenge as
acting head coach.
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