Jordi Cruyff takes on Chinese relegation dogfight

The Chinese Super League features many foreign players and coaches. (Reuters pic)

SHANGHAI: Jordi Cruyff vowed to give “200%” as the son of Dutch legend Johan was unveiled as the new coach of relegation-threatened Chinese side Chongqing Lifan.

The 44-year-old Dutchman, who as a player had stints at Barcelona and Manchester United, was head coach of Israeli team Maccabi Tel Aviv until stepping down in June.

Cruyff, a former midfielder who made nine appearances for the Netherlands but never got close to the achievements of his famous father, replaces Paulo Bento.

The Portuguese was in charge for just 14 games at Lifan, winning only four of them.

Lifan, who play in southwest China, are 14th in the 16-team Chinese Super League (CSL) with half the season gone.

“I understand the situation of the team: they need to adapt and work quickly. I came here to work immediately from today and bring stability,” Cruyff, who will bring in his own backroom staff, told a press conference.

“I believe in the players and the quality that is here, we need to give them confidence, but I see enough potential to get immediate results.”

Cruyff, whose career in coaching also took him to Malta and Cyprus, added: “I don’t want to talk too much, I just want to start working.”

Cruyff’s first game is on Saturday when Lifan host second-placed Shandong Luneng.

The CSL has in recent years brought in an array of overseas players and coaches on handsome contracts.