China's threadbare options up front were underlined when makeshift forward Yu Dabao grabbed the winner in Monday's 2-1 win over debutants Kyrgyzstan, which also left key attacker Wu Lei nursing a suspected collarbone injury.
"It means for our attack, I have to pick a player who spent the season in central defence."
China's attacking play was far from convincing against Kyrgyzstan, who led at half-time and should have grabbed at least a draw if not for a bungling own goal by their goalkeeper.
But Lippi's team had problems in defence too as they were continually picked apart by an inventive Kyrgyzstan, who dominated the first half and had chances for a late equaliser.
The news did not improve for China as the influential Wu, reportedly linked with Premier League outfit Wolverhampton Wanderers last year, was left in doubt for Friday's second Group C clash against the Philippines.
"I really hope not," said Lippi, when asked if the injury was serious. "I hope he'll be available (against the Philippines) but it's not certain."
Alexandre Pato, Hulk and Oscar are among the well-paid foreign attacking players in China, where football authorities have tried to clamp down on expensive new arrivals by imposing a heavy tax on transfer fees and a salary cap.
However, Lippi was also a beneficiary of the trend during his time at Guangzhou Evergrande, when the likes of Dario Conca, Elkeson and Muriqui inspired the club to four CSL titles and the 2013 Asian Champions League crown.
"It's not the first time. In the two-and-a-half years I've been the national team coach, it's happened many times that we've played a negative first half," he said.
"I start to get angry and push my players, and then I get the reaction that I wanted from the first minute. It seems like it's a characteristic of Chinese players.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)