Fabio Cannavaro: Guangzhou Evergrande give Italian manager a very unusual vote of confidence

Fabio Cannavaro
Cannavaro briefly managed China earlier this year

Fabio Cannavaro has been reprieved by Chinese side Guangzhou Evergrande, but it is not exactly the ringing endorsement he might have hoped for.

Last week the 46-year-old former Italy captain was temporarily stood down from managerial duties and replaced by captain Zheng Zhidai while he attended a "corporate culture class".

The move came after his side lost in the AFC Champions League semi-finals and then drew 2-2 with Henan Jianye, which left them just one point clear of Shanghai SIPG at the top of the Chinese Super League.

Cannavaro's two-year spell at the club looked to be over, with reports the club were set to sack him for the second time.

But the club's owners have now said he will remain as manager.

In an announcement, they said the former Real Madrid and Juventus defender had submitted to "deep self-reflection" regarding his performance.

They criticised his "weak ability to rectify mistakes, and insufficiently strict handling of players".

Guangzhou added that Cannavaro had been warned to work harder, improve the standard of his coaching staff, and "raise the players' overall fighting ability to win the Chinese Super League" again.

"If you are going to do it, do your best," Evergrande Group chairman Xu Jiayin told Cannavaro.

It was not all negative for Cannavaro, who was also praised for "actively nurturing the achievements of young players".

Cannavaro, who lasted seven months in his first spell as Evergrande boss in 2014-15, returned to the club in November 2017.

In March, the World Cup winner was named China's national team boss alongside his Evergrande role, but he left after two games.

Evergrande have won only one of their past nine games in all competitions and face second-placed Shanghai SIPG in their next league game on 23 November.

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