Fabio Cannavaro safe as Guangzhou Evergrande coach for now, but told to improve

Under-pressure Fabio Cannavaro will stay in his position as head coach of Guangzhou Evergrande, but the Italian has been told by the Chinese powerhouse to provide a more "rigorous" coaching style in the future.

After a 2-2 draw against Henan Jianye on Oct. 27 left Guangzhou with just one win in five league games, a run that saw the club's lead at the top of the Chinese Super League cut from seven points to just one with three games remaining, the Italian was told to attend a "corporate culture study course" at Evergrande's headquarters in the nearby city of Shenzhen on the following day.

Instead, Cannavaro -- appointed for his second spell in charge of the seven-time Super League champions in November 2017 -- spent the week in Dubai, amid speculation that his dismissal was imminent, before returning to China for a crucial meeting with Evergrande Group chairman Xu Jiayin on Sunday.

"Mr. Fabio Cannavaro will return to the club today to continue his duties as the head coach of Evergrande FC," the two-time AFC Champions League winners said in a statement.

"Mr. Cannavaro presented his written report to chairman Xu Jiayin on the afternoon of Nov. 3, providing a detailed review of the 2019 season, as well as deep self-examination."

While, according to the statement, Xu paid tribute to Cannavaro's willingness to learn and his development of young players, he also provided "critical feedback" on the-46 year-old's ability to correct mistakes and manage the team in a rigorous fashion.

"Mr. Xu hopes Cannavaro can practically follow Evergrande Group's cultural slogan 'be the best,'" continued the statement, which also called upon the 2006 World Cup-winning captain to "study further, work hard, improve the competence of the coaching staff and improve the team's overall performance through rigorous oversight and a transparent rewards and penalty system."

Cannavaro has plenty of time to prepare for his side's next game, a crucial showdown with second-place Shanghai SIPG on Nov. 23.