Linpeng: Scolari quenched our thirst

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Guangzhou Evergrande right-back Zhang Linpeng has heaped praise on his manager Luiz Felipe Scolari for taking them out of a slump and going on an unbeaten run since replacing Fabio Cannavaro in June.

Securing their fifth Chinese Super League over the weekend, Guangzhou Evergrande have also reached the final of the AFC Champions League, where they will play United Arab Emirates side Al Ahli over two legs.

Linpeng credits their 2002 World Cup winning coach for their recent success but did not forget about his previous manager Marcelo Lippi for personally improving his game and making him one the most solid right-backs in the league.

"Scolari is a great coach. When he arrived it was like our team was in the middle of the desert and Scolari brought us all the water we needed," he told the official AFC website.

"There are some new players and new coaches, but there is one similarity that we are as eager to win this championship as we were two years ago.

"During the time Lippi was with the team he also taught me a lot and that you should always be eager for the victory and I maintain that spirit until now."

On winning the league, the 26-year-old said that it was one of the more exciting seasons in recent years as there were plenty of contenders for the title.

"It was really a tough year for us in the domestic league because more teams invested more money and we also faced a lot of injuries at the beginning of the year," added the Chinese international.

Aiming to lift the AFC Champions League for a second time, Linpeng is hoping to get a better look at Al Ahli during their first leg encounter at Rashid Stadium on Saturday.

"We don’t know too much about Al Ahli as this team is quite a new team to the AFC Champions League," he said.