China's stand-in coach Sun Wei has told his team they must focus more after crashing 3-0 to Japan at the Asian Games, admitting they made it too easy for their bitter rivals.
Big things are expected of China on home turf, but the perennial underachievers of Asian football once again failed to deliver in their opening game of the tournament. The defeat, in front of a expectant crowd of 43,000 on Monday evening, leaves them with a big job ahead to qualify from Group A after Malaysia beat Kyrgyzstan 2-1.
Sun, whose reputation is on the line, said they should have done better. "Though they (Japan) were more mature and fluid in attack, we still created many goal-scoring chances," he said.
"We could have done better if we were more concentrated in defence, but our young players didn't do that. We conceded three goals and there are some details we can improve. It was too easy for the opponents to pass and shoot. It shouldn't be that easy."
China now face a must-win clash with Kyrgyzstan on Wednesday and Sun wants his team to step up. "We still have two further group matches and we should try harder and learn lessons from the Japan match," he said. "I hope we can go further."
Captain Zhang Linpeng said he was disappointed in his own performance but remained optimistic the team would qualify for the knockout rounds. "As the captain, I feel I didn't lead by example," he said.
"This was our first match and we were a little nervous and we were sometimes distracted. Although we conceded three goals, I think there is no problem for us to get into the next round."