Paulo Turra: “The pitch is our biggest worry”

Chris KL Lau

On the eve of the much anticipated and no-holds-barred Eastern versus Guangzhou Evergrande match at Mong Kok Stadium, had the chance to speak to Guangzhou Evergrande’s assistant manager Paulo Turra. The much decorated Brazilian defender is now the number two at the Chinese Super League giants. Turra played under Scolari at Palmeiras. After beginning his managerial career in Brazil, Turra has now reunited with his former manager in the CSL to much success.

Guangzhou Evergrande can secure their passage to the next round with a win against Eastern, though Evergrande are well aware that it will be a much closer match than the previous fixture. The narrow confines of both the stadium and the pitch have proven in the past to make it more difficult for away teams to play fluently and Turra reflected on this in the chat.

Paulinho training at Mong Kok Stadium (Photo: Christopher KL Lau)

“The pitch, of course, is narrow, though it will not affect us that much as we have been training in these conditions. Still, for the quality that we have, the condition of the pitch is our biggest worry. There is a little bit of mud and the grass is different, which can affect how slippery it is.”

Eastern are currently last in the group and Turra stressed that Eastern are not to be written off in any way. Evergrande will respect them like they do all opponents.

“Mathematically, all the teams have a chance. The only thing we think about is to win the match, so we can secure qualification into the next round.”

The potential pace and physicality of play were also discussed, as this is more than a mere game; regional pride is at stake.

“How we have trained and what we have demonstrated to the Evergrande players is that they have to play with intensity. The characteristic of the team is to be intense, and if they have this intensity then the chance to win is much higher.”

Paulinho, who is at Evergrande, was also mentioned in the context of how his performances for Brazil have been a great advertisement for the Chinese Super League.

“Paulinho practices very intensely and the way he trains is the way he plays, so this is something which helps not only Evergrande but also the Chinese Super League.”

Interview translated from Portuguese.

Photos of the final training by Christopher KL Lau

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