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.
In-form Vukovic earns Genk contract extension
Caltex Socceroos goalkeeper Danny Vukovic has been rewarded for his excellent form with a two-season contract extension at Belgian club KRC Genk. The 33-year-old's deal was due to expire at the end of the campaign but the Pro League leaders have taken up their option to extend
Aussies Abroad: Vukovic’s Genk beaten in battle of Belgium’s top two
Danny Vukovic’s Genk remain well clear on top of the table despite falling to a rare defeat in Belgium against Club Brugge overnight. In a meeting of the competition’s top two at the Jan Breydel Stadion, Genk were beaten the fired-up home side, going down 3-1. There was lit
Aussies Abroad: Ryan’s Brighton through to Quarter-Finals while Milligan, Giannou pick up strong results
There were a handful of Caltex Socceroos in action on Sunday morning (AEDT) while some key figures were rested as their clubs negotiated cup ties. Firstly to Europe where Mark Milligan played a full 90 at the heart of Hibernian’s midfield as they welcomed new manager Danny Hec
Aussies Abroad: Luongo gallant in Watford defeat
Caltex Socceroos midfielder Massimo Luongo can turn his attention to the EFLChampionship after QPR crashed out of the FA Cup on Saturday morning (AEDT). The 26-year-old played the full 90 minutes in QPR’s 1-0 loss to Watford at Loftus Road, in a tight game where each side cou