By Sportswriter Wang Haoming
GUANGZHOU, China, June 17 (Xinhua) -- It certainly recalled the memory of Sven-Goran Eriksson's memories from the "good old days" in Italy and England, when he was surrounded by journalists and fans.
"This will be one of the biggest challenges in my coaching career," Eriksson, who took rein of the Chinese Super League side Guangzhou Fuli 12 days ago, made his debut speech to more than 50 journalists here on Monday.
"I've learnt that football is very important in this country, so it is a difficult job and big challenge for me," the Swede said.
The 65-year-old Eriksson had only less than three weeks to make a difference for Guangzhou Fuli as former coach Sergio Farias was sacked immediately after the team lost to Guizhou Renhe.
"I am not worried; you can't take a job when you are worried. I think it is a good job. Everyone is born to make mistakes, and I am the one born to be optimistic," Eriksson said.
"My job is to make the team better, try to beat the other teams of the league. Certainly it is not easy for us. We are now 12 points behind the third place. But we are going to try and we will see," he added.
With a contract of one and a half year, Eriksson knew he could only afford a disappoint result in this half-left season, despite the club did not set any mandatory target for him.
"I don't think if I will stay after the first year and a half. But if we go down, of course I am finished. The club wants to play in the AFC Champions league, I believe sooner or later we will," he said.
The Swede knew his team has been struggling in a tight corner now as they only pocketed 12 points in 12 games and dropped to 13th on the table in Chinese super league. At the same time last season, they had already harvest a double of 24 points.
"I think step by step we will get better, and we should be very much higher in the table than now," Eriksson said.
It is certainly not easy for the Swede to manage a team whose players coming from China, Brazil and Nigeria. R&F's former coach Sergio Farias had lost his control both on the pitch and in the locker room since the end of last season, when the team plummeted to 7th from the third in five games. The new season didn't bring any fresh air, and the communication problem with the players was considered as the first to blame.
"Communication is very important inside the club, the players should speak to each other on the pitch, the coach should talk to every player and also the club officials," the Swede said he would keep the door open for all the players.
"I think we have a lot of good Chinese players, which is very important to the club. I don't think I will pick out a single one. Instead, I will open the door for every player; just show me, I am very open to them," he added.
His words were similar with Guangzhou Evergrande coach Macello Lippi's inaugural address to media in the same city almost at the same time last year, from which time the same-aged Italian has collected two league titles and a CFA cup in a year.
It has been 12 years since Eriksson left Italy for England, before the two frequently met in tunnels, the former as the coach of Lazio and the latter as Juventus and Inter Milan in the 1990s. The Swede held a favorable 11 wins, 6 draws and 7 losses against the Italian.
"We are good friends; we have many common friends in Italian. We always make phone calls to each other but we haven't met for years," Eriksson said.
"We met many many times. And we will meet again soon. I think our 99 percent of our conversation will be football; the left one percent will be life in China. I think he can help me find some good restaurants here in Guangzhou," he said.