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Paulo Sousa leaves Chinese Super League side Tianjin Quanjian after poor run

Paulo Sousa has left Tianjin Quanjian. VCG/VCG via Getty Images

Paulo Sousa has departed from his role as head coach of Tianjin Quanjian, the Chinese Super League club announced on Thursday.

The former Fiorentina coach, who took over from Fabio Cannavaro in November, has been replaced on an interim basis by Shen Xiangfu with the club in danger of being drawn into a relegation battle with six games remaining.

Tianjin finished third last year in their first campaign in the Chinese top flight after Cannavaro won the second division title in 2016, but they are currently 13th in the 16-team league.

The club qualified for the Asian Champions League for the first time but have struggled to balance their commitments in domestic and continental competition.

Tianjin lost in the quarterfinals of the ACL last month to Japan's Kashima Antlers and have also slid down the Chinese table, with a 3-0 loss against Chongqing Lifan on Sunday their fourth domestic game in a row without a win.

They now travel to third-placed Shandong Luneng on Friday, and are five points ahead of 15th placed Henan Jianye, with the bottom two clubs relegated at the end of the season.