Beijing Guoan coach Roger Schmidt expressed his ambitions ahead of the upcoming season at a press conference on Thursday, saying he aimed to bring the team back to the AFC Champions League after years of absence.
Schmidt took over the Chinese Super League side in the middle of last season, only to steer the team to 9th place at the end of the season. The club signed eight new players in the offseason, including Villarreal hitman Cedric Bakambu, Las Palmas midfielder Jonathan Viera and talented local player Wei Shihao, obviously boosting the German's confidence.
"After a long period of winter training, I know my players very well. We had
good results on new player signings. I believe the new arrivals and the old players will work together to achieve a good result in the new season," he said.
"We will try to challenge the strong squads in the league and secure a spot in the AFC Champions League zone," he added.
Due to irrational behavior last season, Guoan playmaker Zhang Xizhe will still be banned for 10 matches in the league. Schmidt said he regreted that Zhang will miss the first phase of the league.
"I still want to thank him for his attitude in the winter training, but I believe my current players will make up for his suspension," he said.
Beijing Guoan will take on Shandong Luneng in round one on March 4.