Shanghai Shenhua have taken to social media in China to apologise to their fans for Wednesday night's loss to Brisbane Roar in the ACL while Chinese media have slammed coach Gus Poyet's selections and tactics.
“We want to apologize to our fans who braved the freezing cold to support us because it was a shame what happened on the pitch," they wrote on their Weibo page.
"Every player have strived for the very best and we shared the same desire to win.
“However, football is cruel. When you keep wasting goal-scoring chances, the prospect of a victory is fast receding. We are gutted and regret the lost opportunities but the team will not give up.
"The spirit of Shenhua will not die away because of one game.
A photo posted by Shanghai Shenhua (@shanghaishenhua) on Feb 8, 2017 at 6:36am PST
"The team will spare no effort for the new season of CSL and start all over again.”
Defeat to Brisbane Roar has put a huge dent in any ambitions Shanghai Shenhua had of reaching the zenith of Asian football, and the Chinese media has reacted badly to the deflating performance.
Soccer News used the word “embarrassing” in the headline for their report on the match and queried the decision by Gus Poyet to left out Fredy Guarin for the play-off.
“That decision backfired spectacularly and the huge gap left by the Colombian in central midfield was brutally exposed by the Australian.”
Sina Sports also questioned Poyet’s team selection and argued his midfield lacks balance without the presence of Fredy Guarin, expressing confusion about the Uruguayan’s tactics
“Why Tevez kept roaming outside the penalty area? The long-ball tactics is also ridiculous. Tevez and Martins could do nothing but watch the ball fly overhead time and time again.”
Titan Sports claimed the current Shenhua squad are not dedicated enough and even went as far as to doubt Poyet’s willingness to turn the club's fortunes around.
“Poyet has to change his way of doing things but considering his past experiences in Sunderland and Real Betis, he maybe as stubborn as ever.”