Sainsbury: China has improved me


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."