Zola wants strong finish

Gianfranco Zola will send his team out against Beijing Guoan later on Friday with the intention of finishing the Barclays Asia Trophy on a winning note.

As Hull City found out when they scraped past the Chinese side on penalties on Wednesday, it promises to be a tricky contest. The Workers Stadium will be full of home fans ready to cheer on the Chinese league leaders but Zola said his team will be ready. His men were eager to make up for the 1-0 defeat by Tottenham Hotspur although the main focus is the preparation for the Barclays Premier League start on Saturday 15 August.

"It is not going to be an easy game," he said. "I saw some of their game [against Hull] and they are fit, they are well organised. It is not going to be an easy ride at all for us. We are going to improve on the first performance. We know that it hasn't been our best - but we are going to use it to help us improve for the future. We know that it is part of the preparation for the new season."

Aware that Beijing lined up in a 4-4-2 formation last time out, Zola was keeping his cards close to his chest about his own lineup and tactics. "We will try to play our game. On the fitness side they will certainly be ahead of us - first of all because they are acclimatised and also because they are ahead in their league schedule.

"We are going to make the most of it. I don't know yet what formation we are going to play as there a few with knocks but we are going to play competitively."

The manager had an update on Luis Boa Morte who will travel home with the team as planned this weekend and see a specialist before heading to Portugal for the first phase of his recovery. He said he had no thoughts yet on how to replace him in the team. "For me the main concern is him getting better as soon as possible," he said. "We will find a solution. To be honest, I haven't thought of anything else than his situation.

"He is a great boy. He never stopped smiling since. We all had long faces when we sent to him and he was the only one smiling. It tells you a lot about the man. He is a big loss."

Adding more experience to the squad is key to the manager's plans of building a team that allows young players to thrive. "We don't have the possibility to spend a lot of money like other clubs," he said. "We don't complain and we are happy with the situation. We will try to work it out.

"It was very good last year because everyone performed at their best. We had young players coming through like Jack Collison, James Tomkins and Junior Stanislas. This year there will be some others.

"We have a good atmosphere and fortunately we have some experienced players like Scott Parker which is really good to push the young players in the right direction. They help them a lot. On top of that, I am sure the club will try to get some players that will push the level of the club a bit higher. I am totally confident.

"We need to have more options in attack. Carlton Cole was fantastic last season and I am sure if he has someone to help him, it will be a great thing."