SEOUL: Guangzhou Evergrande manager Marcello Lippi (pictured) lashed yesterday after a lack of proper facilities left his players training indoors at their hotel before the AFC Champions League final in Seoul.
The World Cup-winning coach was fuming after his team were not given a suitable training pitch before today’s first leg against FC Seoul, forcing them to improvise.
Lippi, who reached four UEFA Champions League finals with Italy’s Juventus, and won the competition in 1996, said it was the first time he had experienced such treatment.
“We ended up training in the hall in our hotel. I don’t think it’s fair,” Lippi, speaking through an interpreter, told a press conference.
“It’s the first time in 30 years in my career I’ve had something like this happen to me.
“It’s my fifth time in the final in the Champions League, whether it’s in Europe or Asia, and I’ve never had such a problem with an opponent.”
A K-League official said Guangzhou were told two weeks ago that their training pitch did not have good lighting, and they had accepted the arrangement without complaint.
But after the team arrived on Thursday afternoon, they found they could not train on the pitch that evening and had to make emergency arrangements.
Lippi insisted Guangzhou would provide FC Seoul with proper facilities when they visit southern China for the second leg in two weeks’ time.
“We will follow all regulations of fair play that exist internationally,” he said. “We’ll make sure to collaborate as much as we can to make sure they will have a pitch to train.”
FC Seoul manager Choi Yong-Soo said the hosts did the best they could to serve Guangzhou, who are hot favourites to lift the trophy. AFP