China back Marcello Lippi amid sack reports
China have insisted they are not planning to sack head coach Marcello Lippi.
Following speculation the former World Cup-winning boss was going to be removed from his role, the Chinese Football Association (CFA) gave the 69-year-old its backing.
China are bottom of AFC World Cup qualification Group A with just six points from eight matches and only have a slim chance of claiming a play-off spot to reach next year's tournament in Russia.
But the CFA insists it is sticking with Lippi for the long-term ahead of next Thursday's qualifier against Uzbekistan.
"Lippi's efforts in improving Chinese football and the progress the team has made thus far serve as an example for all to see," read the CFA's statement.
"We will, as always, strive to provide an ideal environment for Lippi and his backroom staff. No effort will be spared to fully support and coordinate with his job of preparing for future games.
"The future of Chinese football hinges on the development of youngsters, which acts as the most important facilitator in gaining progress.
"Lippi is willing to offer his advice and help in helping Chinese young footballer in their development and make a contribution to their future success."
Lippi, formerly in charge of Guangzhou Evergrande in the Chinese Super League, took charge of China last October. He won the World Cup with Italy in 2006.