Newly-elected Chinese men's national football team head coach Li Tie attends the press conference in Beijing, capital of China, Jan. 5, 2020. (Xinhua/Xu Yanan)
By Sportswriter Ma Bangjie
BEIJING, Jan. 5 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese men's football team only accepts players who are willing to fight for their country at the expense of their own interests, said newly appointed head coach Li Tie on Sunday.
Li, 42, flew to Guangzhou to lead his team's training camp on Sunday after being unveiled to the press in Beijing.
"My first goal with my team is very simple, it is to build a team that is good at fighting and well-disciplined," said the former manager of Chinese Super League club Wuhan Zall.
"I hope all my players have a strong sense of national honor and are willing to offer all that they have for our country. The national team is not a place where personal interests can be sought," he said.
He said he was disappointed when some players snubbed him for personal reasons last time.
"When we prepared for the East Asian championships, I made telephone calls to all the players I wanted. Some players told me that they could not go with me. I could not accept that," he said.
Li emerged as a possible candidate when he managed China on a temporary basis at last month's East Asian championships.
The Chinese team demonstrated positive changes under Li's charge after they lost to Japan and South Korea before beating their Hong Kong compatriots, according to CFA technical director Chris Van Puyvelde.
"What I saw of the team that it is a compact team, not all the time, but in general you could see that was a very compact team, and that for me is the first step that you have to do in the future," said the former technical chief of the Belgian Football Association.
"If you look to high-level football, they all play between 12 and 15 meters between each other. It is a dynamic block. A dynamic block is what I saw he brought in a pretty short period," he said.
Li said his dual careers as both player and coach equip him with the credentials to take over the post left by Marcello Lippi, who resigned on November 14th, 2019 following a 2-1 away loss to Syria.
"I received football training in Brazil and luckily I played all the three games China played at the 2002 World Cup finals, after that I joined Everton," he said.
Li played at Everton for 34 Premier League games over four season's before being transferred to Sheffield United in the summer of 2006.
In 2012, he joined Lippi as the Italian's assistant at Guangzhou Evergrande.
"I learned a lot from Lippi, which made me what I am today," he said.
"Now as a coach, I can say nobody knows more than me about the Chinese national team players," he said.
The CFA said they will build a competent team of experts to help Li.
"As a coach, you don't need to afraid to have quality people around you, because quality inspires quality," said Van Puyvelde.
"Don't surround yourself with people who only say yes, but surround yourself with people who want to add some additional quality. When you put the additional quality together, the team around the team also will be better," he said.
Li disclosed that his contract with the CFA will expire at June 9th when China is scheduled to face Syria at home at their last round of World Cup qualifiers.
If China qualifies for the final stage of Asian World Cup qualifiers, his contract will be extended, according to Li.
"Even if they offer me the job for only one day, I will take it without hesitation," he said.
China, who will play their next World Cup qualifier at home against the Maldives on March 26th, now sit second place in the five-team Group A with seven points from four games, eight points behind group leaders Syria.
The top team from each of the eight groups and the four best second-place finishers will advance to the final stage of World Cup qualifiers.