Lippi off to winning start as Guangzhou coach

Celebrated Italian coach Marcello Lippi declared the future was bright for Guangzhou Evergrande after winning his first match in charge of the Chinese champions.

Guangzhou beat Qingdao Jonoon 1-0 on Sunday to go four points clear at the top of the Chinese Super League in Lippi's first match since being appointed on Thursday.

"I have been here for three days. But the team has played in a total of 17 matches in the past three months. I found the team is a little bit tired," the 2006 World Cup-winning coach was quoted as saying by the Asian Football Confederation website on Monday.

The 64-year-old took over from South Korean Lee Jang-soo, who had led the big-spending club to the last 16 of the Asian Champions League.

"The players need some time to adjust its new position and condition," said Lippi, adding he was relieved to get a victory in his first game.

"In my career, with Juventus, [Inter] Milan or the Italian national team, my debut match has always been a loss. So I was a little bit afraid about the first match actually.

"Now I have the opposite result, I feel very happy and have more confidence for the future."

Lippi is the biggest big name to join Chinese football following Shanghai Shenhua's signing of French striker Nicolas Anelka from Chelsea.

Former France international Jean Tigana had been Shanghai's manager before the club fired him last month after a poor start to the season.

Chelsea striker Didier Drogba has also been linked to Shanghai, although his heroics in helping the London club win the FA Cup and Champions League could put a move to China on hold.