Jiangsu Suning spurred by 'shame' in 2017 Chinese Super League and ACL
Jiangsu Suning coach Choi Yong-Soo will use the disappointment of finishing as runners up to Guangzhou Evergrande in both the Chinese Super League and the Chinese FA Cup last year to drive his side towards success in the new season.
Jiangsu were 2016's perennial bridesmaids, finishing second behind Luiz Felipe Scolari's side in the league, while Evergrande defeated Jiangsu on the away-goals rule over two legs in the Chinese FA Cup.
Prior to Choi's mid-year arrival, the Nanjing-based club also lost out to Guangzhou in the 2016 season-opening Chinese Super Cup.
The South Korean coach stressed his team will not fear anyone as the club seek to win the CSL title for the first time after reshaping their squad for the 2017 campaign.
"We haven't forgotten the shame of last season," Choi said. "Our winter training has gone well, we have worked very hard and I believe our effort won't be wasted.
"In the new season, we will work hard with our team, the staff and the club, and with the support of our fans, we will try to reach our target for the season. We won't be afraid of any opponent."
Choi's club kick off their 2017 season on Tuesday when they take on South Korea's Jeju United in the group stages of the AFC Champions League, with the coach holding an impressive record against Jeju from his days as coach of FC Seoul.
Jiangsu were eliminated at the end of the group stages of last year's continental club championship. Choi hopes his team can improve on that showing to qualify for the knockout rounds.
"Of course, I want to win the Asian Champions League," said Choi. "However, despite this desire and the pressure that comes with it, I want to enjoy football and our matches.
"In order to have a long journey in the competition, we have to qualify from our group first.
"This season, Jeju have many new good players and they will be well organised so it's going to be difficult. In addition, they started their preparation earlier than us and they have been on a competition footing earlier than us.
"My team needs to do more work on integration. We haven't reached where we should be yet. Therefore we have to be prepared for a tough game. This is the first Asian Champions League match and we have to know it is going to be extremely difficult."
Michael Church has written about Asian football for more than 20 years and mainly covers the Chinese game for ESPN FC. Twitter: @michaelrgchurch