Poyet keeps focus on cup as weakened Shanghai Shenhua thrashed
Gus Poyet said he was focusing on the Chinese FA Cup as his Shanghai Shenhua side were thrashed 5-0 by Shandong Luneng, who moved up to third in the Chinese Super League.
Felix Magath's side moved a point ahead of Tianjin Quanjian and within four points of second-placed Shanghai SIPG as Graziano Pelle scored twice and Shenhua were reduced to 10 men.
Poyet fielded a weakened side ahead of his club's cup semifinal first leg against second division Shanghai Shenxin on Tuesday.
"As you all know, we now care most about the cup," Poyet said. "I didn't expect that we would give up three goals from set-pieces despite our squad being quite tall.
"But we will try to forget this game as soon as possible and start our preparations for the Chinese FA Cup.
"Conceding five goals is an exceptional case. We are in the middle of rotating the squad, so you can't judge anything from this game. It isn't about our defence, but the whole team."
Defender Gil gave Shandong the lead midway through the first half against a Shenhua side missing Fredy Guarin, Obefemi Martins and Carlos Tevez and Papis Cisse doubled the advantage 12 minutes later.
Pelle scored his first six minutes before the break and then Xiong Fei put the ball in his own net 10 minutes after the restart.
Cong Zhen was sent off for a second bookable offence in the 71st minute before Pelle completed the rout with a minute left on the clock.
The win put Shandong into the top three for the first time since early May, and Magath said: "We were outstanding today.
"Even though the Shenhua side we faced was not their best team, we managed to push them by putting them under a lot of pressure.
"We're third in the rankings and in an Asian Champions League qualifying position. But the current ranking is not the final one and it will matter more after 30 rounds.
"We have more tough games to face."
Michael Church has written about Asian football for more than 20 years and mainly covers the Chinese game for ESPN FC. Twitter: @michaelrgchurch