SHANGHAI - Agence France-Presse
The assignment of Nicolas Anelka as player-coach at Shanghai Shenhua fuels speculation surrounding the Frenchman and coach Tigana at the Chinese club.
Shanghai Shenhua head coach Jean Tigana yesterday denied he had resigned from the club after state media reported the former Fulham boss had quit amid growing confusion over his future in China.
Speculation has swirled over the past week that Tigana faced the axe, particularly after he missed a home game on Friday following star striker Nicolas Anelka’s appointment as player-coach at the club.
The state-run Shanghai Daily Monday quoted Shenhua’s main investor Zhu Jun as saying the former French
international had handed in his resignation and Jean-Florent Ikwange Ibenge -- a new assistant coach -- would likely take over.
But Tigana on Monday denied he had quit, although he declined to confirm whether or not he was still at the club.
“That’s wrong,” he told AFP by phone, in response to a question on whether he had resigned. “I have nothing to declare,” he added when asked if he was still at the club.
Shenhua, meanwhile, declined to comment on Monday.
The team lost 1-0 to Tianjin Teda in Shanghai’s Hongkou Stadium on Friday and after the game a club official said “adjustments” had been made to the coaching staff but insisted Tigana remained with the team.
The club’s Australian forward Joel Griffiths, however, indicated that he believed the 56-year-old Frenchman was finished at Shenhua.
“We have a new coach, new staff, so hopefully on Sunday we can meet them and go on from there,” he told AFP after the game.
“I saw him (Tigana) today. I wished him all the best in whatever he does. That was it. This is football.”
The club last week sacked three assistant coaches brought on board by Tigana and hired four new ones as replacements, state media reported.