China coach Alain Perrin may have refused to speak English at the official pre-match press conference, but he’s warming to the idea of staying in the land downunder after Thursday night's Asian Cup quarter final with the Socceroos.
Perrin, the former Portsmouth coach and coaching compadre of Arsene Wenger, spoke only in French, which was translated to Mandarin then English for a throng of around 60 media from across the world.
He said the spirit that has got China this far will stand them in good stead in Thursday night’s Asian Cup quarter-final against Ange Postecoglou's men.
“The weather here is lovely. As you know it’s the middle of winter in Beijing and very cold. So we want to stay here a longer time to enjoy the lovely weather,” Perrin said.
“That’s why we must win the match. Australia is a very good team but I believe our team can continue to move forward.
“I know that Australia is the home team and has very good players, like Cahill, but I think if our players can keep our spirit up, we can have a very good result.”
He was also aware of the threats posed by Mark Bresciano after the Frenchman's stint in Qatari football before his move to China.
However, the change to the centre of the Socceroo defence – with suspended Matt Spiranovic replaced by former Chinese Super League based Alex Wilkinson – was one area of interest from the media, but Perrin played a straight bat to the question of whether it was a potential weak spot in the home side.
“The Australian team have a lot of good defenders. So even if the number 5 cannot play in the match tomorrow maybe they’ll have another very good player," he said.
“Anyway, we’ll try our best to find a way to break through their defence.”
Meanwhile, China’s Sun Ke has paid tribute his former team-mate Wilkinson. In 2011, the pair were teammates for about six months at Chinese Super League club Jiangsu Sainty.
And with them set to meet on Thursday night on the pitch, the Chinese might have an insight into the new Socceroo central defender who’ll have Trent Sainsbury as his defensive partner for the first time.
“He was very good player, a stable and experienced defender,” said Ke of Wilkinson.
“But for us, we don’t care which player plays against us. We just want to do what we can do.
“Australia is strong. Maybe we’re not the best team in Asia, but we have our belief and we have our spirit we can shine tomorrow night,” Ke added.
China have been the surprise packets at the 2015 Asian Cup, winning all three of their group matches including an upset 2-1 win over tournament heavyweights Uzbekistan.
The Socceroos will face China PR in the Quarter-Finals of the AFC Asian Cup at Brisbane Stadium on Thursday 22 January (8.30pm local kick off). Click here to purchase tickets.
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