Tigana denies reports he quit China's Shenhua

AFP, Monday 16 Apr 2012

Shanghai Shenhua head coach Jean Tigana on Monday 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

Jean Tigana
Shanghai Shenhua head coach Jean Tigana

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.

Tigana joined Shenhua in December as the club sought to improve its record after finishing in the bottom half of the Chinese Super League last season.

But the team has failed to live up to expectations, and Shenhua named Anelka as player-coach last Thursday, citing problems with the quality of training.

Anelka, a former Arsenal and Chelsea player, is the most high-profile foreign footballer to sign up for the Chinese league. He joined Shenhua in January amid high hopes he could boost the team's performance.

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