Web Stories Friday, February 23

DOHA : China coach Aleksandar Jankovic said his team were still alive in the Asian Cup after finishing third in Group A and he was not worried about losing his job after Monday’s 1-0 loss to Qatar saw them finish the stage without scoring.

China finished third with two points behind Qatar and Tajikistan having drawn their first two games and coach Jankovic said he was disappointed their “destiny doesn’t depend on us any more” with only the four best third-placed teams going through.

The Asian Cup campaign was a disappointing one for China who have invested a lot in the sport and were the original hosts of the 2023 edition before they pulled out and Jankovic could find himself in the firing line if they exit in the group stage.

“There are two types of coaches in general – those who have been fired and those who will be fired, so when you accept to do this job you accept both,” Jankovic told reporters after their defeat by Qatar.

“The one who thinks about the moment when he will stop working is the one who is afraid of everything. And the guy who’s afraid of everything can never be a coach focused on giving everything, doing their best to push the team.

“I’m never focused on personal questions. I’ve been in China for almost six years, I’ve prepared one generation, the next generation for Chinese football also … I’m focused on giving, not receiving, trying to do my best and not to have regrets.”

With Tajikistan beating Lebanon 2-1 and both teams finally getting on the scoresheet at the tournament in a dramatic game, China were the only side not to find the net in the group.

“We are disappointed we expected more … we deserved more but football without goals is not football and you can’t expect big results if you don’t score goals,” added Jankovic.

“In the three games we played here a lot of chances were missed in every game. If you don’t score you can’t expect to advance.”

When asked if Chinese football was going backwards, Jankovic said they would not be discussing the topic if their goal against Tajikistan in their group opener had not been chalked off by VAR.

“In total we played three games, scored no goals, conceded one goal and we’re third in the group,” he said.

“On the other side we start to think about the World Cup qualifiers and China will keep moving. China can never go backwards.”

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