Kitchee roaring to go, ready to set new season ali

For a lot of premier league clubs, finishing the league in second place and winning both, the League Cup and the Season Playoffs, might be considered a great season. For Kitchee however, the same haul could not be considered as anything extraordinary, as the Blues have already put what they accomplished last season behind them, and gear ambitiously towards the new season. Head coach Alex Chu reveals Kitchee has regained some much needed vitality after the injection of new players and the side has been progressing well throughout preseason. “Without taking part in the AFC Cup quarter-finals this year, we now have more time to gradually work on things in preseason,” said Chu. “Our preseason work has gone through various stages already, from chemistry building, improving fitness, right to the stage where we start to play some friendly matches. Generally speaking, the team has been steadily progressing in a very good pace.” In order to strengthen the squad and regain the premier league title in the new season, Kitchee went on a shopping spree this summer and brought in the likes of Lam Zhi-gin, Marcos Jimenez, Pau Bosch and Kim Bong Jin as reinforcements. After watching them from close quarters throughout preseason, the Kitchee tactician was more than happy to give his new troops his seal of approval. “(Lam) Zhi-gin comes from a very high standard football league, thus he is going to be a great help to the side when it comes to build-ups and attack. However, we are not going to make him work solo and hope that he can win games for us by himself. That is simply not our style; Marcos Jimenez and Pau Bosch both took some time to get used to the Hong Kong heat but the former has shown his class during shooting drills and the latter can really play the ball out from defense, hence both players should be able to contribute to the side this season; Kim Bong Jin is a typical Korean player, always ready to play and is strong one-on-one. I think he will make a positive impact with the Blues. Kitchee youth products such as Cheng Chin-lung and co turned a few heads last season with some impressive displays on the pitch. Therefore the club went back to its own backyard in the summer and promoted four youth team players to the first team, hoping to discover another gem. Chu, while looking out for the prospects, was quick to offer them some words of wisdom. “Professional football, at the end of the day, is all about ability. Therefore young players do need to show their ability on the training pitch every day, earn the trust of the coaching staff and then capitalize on their opportunities through however small their initial playing time might be,” Chu said. “With four new youngsters now training with the first team, I am counting on them to bring more competition for places into the first team squad. The kids should know that if they need to reach a certain level in football, there are simply no shortcuts and hard work must be invested.” With new signings arriving and young players bursting onto the scene, it is inevitable that some of the Kitchee veterans will need to look elsewhere for playing time. Amongst those who will be exiting the club this season, albeit in loan manner, will be loyal servants Jorge Tarres and Fernando Recio. Chu touched on the decision that the club made after some long, hard considerations. “Jordi (Jorge Tarres) and Nando (Fernando Recio) are both wonderful players. Unfortunately, no successful football side can afford to stay pat and keep using the same players season after season, without injecting some new blood to provide freshness and boost competition,” Chu explained. “For example, running a football team is unlike cooking. We cannot simply follow a recipe and recreate a wonderful dish. As football coaches, we are constantly analyzing the personnel of the team, such as age, performance, importance to the side and formations, and applying the necessary adjustments.” Before wrapping up, the Kitchee head coach also went ahead to outline the team’s main targets for the coming season. “We are Kitchee and our goal for every single season has to be the premier league title. We came up short on that matter last season and this year, we will work extra hard to try to get our hands on the premier league trophy once again,” Chu declared. “We also put a lot of emphasis on domestic cup competitions and hopefully, we will be successful in that front as well. “Regarding regional tournaments, if we end up playing in the AFC Cup, we have become so experienced in the tournament that we should be one of the sides to beat; on the other hand, if we do play in the AFC Champions League, despite the fact that we are relatively new to the tournament, with the several recently-qualified local players in the team, I think we should have a large enough squad to handle the challenge.”