04.10.2018 08:07 h

Portugal's Sousa departs Chinese strugglers Tianjin

Portuguese coach Paulo Sousa left relegation-threatened Chinese Super League side Tianjin Quanjian on Thursday after less than a season in charge, the club said.

The 48-year-old former international midfielder has been unable to arrest an alarming slide by the big spenders, who are just five points off the relegation zone with six games left.

Sousa, brought in last November when Fabio Cannavaro left for reigning champions Guangzhou Evergrande, departs by mutual consent, Tianjin said in a statement.

The Portuguese, whose previous managerial roles include stints at Swansea City and Leicester City, inherited a Tianjin team boasting Alexandre Pato, Axel Witsel and Anthony Modeste.

The club finished third last season under Cannavaro, qualifying for the Asian Champions League for the first time.

Sousa took ambitious Tianjin to the Champions League quarter-finals, but prior to the tie they lost Belgian international Witsel to Borussia Dortmund and French striker Modeste has been absent as he attempts to quit the club.

Without them, Tianjin were thrashed 5-0 on aggregate by Japan's Kashima Antlers.

Tianjin's form has also dipped worryingly in the Super League, where they have lost their last three games without scoring a goal.

The last straw was a 3-0 home defeat to fellow relegation strugglers Chongqing Lifan on Sunday.