Ex-Espanyol coach Machin makes Chinese Super League move

Shanghai (AFP) – Former Sevilla and Espanyol boss Pablo Machin was named head coach of Qingdao Huanghai on Wednesday, just three days before the Chinese Super League (CSL) kicks off.

The 45-year-old replaces fellow Spaniard Juanma Lillo, who left newly promoted Qingdao last month to become Pep Guardiola’s assistant at Manchester City.

With Lillo at the helm and veteran former City star Yaya Toure in midfield, the club from China’s northeast won last season’s China League One title to gain promotion to the CSL.

The 37-year-old Toure has also since left.

Machin takes charge following an unsuccessful spell at basement La Liga side Espanyol, where he won four of 15 matches before being fired in December last year.

Machin managed Girona from 2014 to 2018, then left to take over at Sevilla, but was sacked in March 2019 after just nine months in the job.

Qingdao are in action on the opening day of the CSL season on Saturday, when they face Wuhan Zall behind closed doors in Suzhou.

The CSL is kicking off more than five months late because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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