The Socceroos coach claims the A-League takes more of a pro-active approach
The mega-rich, cashed-up Chinese Super League is still not quite up to the standard of the A-League, according to Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou.
That’s the view he formed after a recent reconnaissance mission in China, during which he kept a close eye on current Socceroos playing for Chinese Super League clubs, as AAP reports. He wanted to gauge for himself the standard of the games and competition in which they play, and he did so by attending four matches.
“I saw (Apostolos) Giannou, Timmy (Cahill), Spira (Matthew Spiranovic), (Trent) Sainsbury, (uncapped defender Aleksander) Jovanovic and (Michael) Thwaite – I saw about half a dozen boys,” Postecoglou said.
“It was a good experience, at least I know now the context of the football they’re playing. The good thing is all the players – apart from James Troisi, who’s picked up an injury – are starting and playing virtually 90 minutes. We’ve obviously got the friendlies coming up against Greece and because the A-League boys are finished now, it’s important we’ve got some players who are playing deep into May.”
Although he recognises the impressive individual talent from Europe and South America that the wealthy Chinese clubs have been able to attract, he has concluded that overall, the A-League is ahead in terms of the overall competition standard. And he believes that the large sums of money splashed out to buy overseas talent could be one of the main reasons, because it’s helped create a divide between the mega-rich clubs that can afford that talent, and those that can’t. It leads to the latter adopting a more defensive style of play in a bid for survival. He believes this is significantly different to the more pro-active approach of A-League clubs.
“China has still got a way to go in terms of its development,” Postecoglou said.
“The beauty of it for our players is that individually they’re matching up with some very good players. The foreigners there from all over the globe are absolutely top quality, so our guys are getting tested individually, which is great. But in the overall intensity and tempo I’ll be honest, I think the A-League is probably a little bit ahead of it at the moment, just in terms of the general level of the game.”