Trent Sainsbury says playing in the Chinese Super League is a lot less intense than featuring in the Eredivisie, but insists he is improving as a defender.
The Australia international scored the Socceroos’ only goal in a 2-1 loss to Greece in Melbourne on Tuesday, after a tough first half in which the hosts fell to a 2-0 deficit after an eighth-minute goal from Petros Mantalos and a wonder goal from Giannis Maniatis.
The match concluded a mixed bag of performances for the Socceroos, who lost 2-1 to England at the Stadium of Light before a 1-0 win over Greece in Sydney preceded the friendly loss in Melbourne.
Sainsbury, like his team, was inconsistent – particularly in Melbourne – but insisted he is becoming a better defender since making the switch from Netherlands and PEC Zwolle to China with Jiangsu Suning.
“It’s not as intense as Holland,” Sainsbury said.
“Holland was more like Australia – the ball on the deck and playing in between the lines, where as in China, a lot of teams come out very defensive, so it’s hard to break them down.
“They play a lot of counter-attack there, but at the same time I’m marking some of the best strikers in the world, so it keeps me on my toes.
“Defensively, I’m learning a lot more.
“On the ball, I don’t think China has improved me. Holland did that, but as a defender, yeah, it’s improving me.”
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