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Lippi: I have the best team in China

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Lippi: Fergie modeled United on my Juventus team
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Lippi: Fergie modeled United on my Juventus team

Marcello Lippi has claimed that his Guangzhou Evergrande has the best players in China.

Lippi, who lead Italy to the 2006 World Cup and brought five Scudetti to Juventus, is relishing the prospect of working with the club's new signings as well as talents returning from injury.

“I have perhaps the best team in China," he said in an interview published on Tuesday in La Gazzetta dello Sport. "Soon, I’ll also have at my disposal the injured Muriqui, a top Brazilian scorer and Yang Ning, a talented midfielder. Then [Lucas] Barrios from Dortmund. I told the players that I’ve watched them for three months and there is nobody better than them.”

However, he revealed that at first he was skeptical about taking on the role with the Chinese club.

“I answered no [initially]. Then I saw the games, thought about it and changed my mind.

"I wanted it [the managerial position] at all costs. Training alone is not enough and I am a [Manchester United boss Sir Alex] Ferguson-like manager: I think of everything. Guangzhou want to become important and that’s why I explained that to do this they need European tactics.”

The Italian manager says that the reference for success is “planning and being methodical", and stated that he has turned down various offers to return to football management since leaving the Azzurri in 2010.

“I said no to Italian clubs this year," he continued. "I wanted to go overseas before, but I refused the Emirates, Qatar, Ukraine, Saudi Arabia, and some time ago, even the Chinese national team. But Guangzhou convinced me.”

But he did admit fears that his tactical ideas may become lost in translation.

“You must explain tactics to the interpreter during training and the actual game and you do not know if the message is received as you intended. In fact, the best we have played has always been at the beginning of the second half and when the game is stopped for injuries."

Lippi, who picked up a narrow 1-0 victory over Qingdao Joonon in his first game at the helm, also signaled that this could be his final managerial role.

“I hope to keep on managing for three years or more," he concluded. "Afterwards, I do not know, but my career is at its end.”

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