Zaccheroni: Winning tournament not objective

DOHA - Capturing the Asian Cup for a record fourth time is not the objective for Japan coach Alberto Zaccheroni, who says he would have selected other players in his squad if he wanted to win the tournament in Qatar.

The Italian coach, who was appointed in August and led Japan to victory over a full-strength Argentina side in his first game, said he had the support of the country's football association to focus on planning for the future.

"If our objective was to win it, I would have brought the entire World Cup squad here," Zaccheroni, answering in Italian, told a media conference on Saturday.

"I have been in the coaching business for a long time so I don't feel pressure. The Japan Football Association and I have decided that the focus of the Asian Cup is on performance, not results."

Despite the claim, Japan are still considered one of the favourites to win the 16-team, three-week long tournament after the victory over Argentina and the performances of Shinji Kagawa for Borussia Dortmund to complement the creative duo of Keisuke Honda and Yasuhito Endo.