Shanghai (AFP) - Roger Schmidt praised his side's thirst for victory after Beijing Guoan made it a record seventh win in a row since the start of the Chinese Super League season.
No team in the Chinese top flight has begun a campaign so well and it makes the German coach's team early favourites to win the CSL.
Spanish attacking midfielder Jonathan Viera hit a hat-trick in a 4-1 thrashing of Dalian Yifang on Sunday to extend Beijing's perfect run.
Fans are dreaming of a first league championship since 2009, but former Bayer Leverkusen coach Schmidt cautioned: "The league is very long. There are 30 games in total and we have only finished seven games.
"Of course, we played well and played good football. But I think we still need to maintain a modest, prudent and down-to-earth mentality."
Guoan's title credentials will be put to the test on Saturday when they travel to Fabio Cannavaro's Guangzhou Evergrande, who are three points behind in second.
"My boys were very good today and have maintained their desire for victory," said the 52-year-old Schmidt, who guided Beijing to the FA Cup last season in his first year.
"This is very valuable. We need to maintain this strong mentality.
"The players get along very well and everyone's mentality is also very good. This is the secret of success," added Schmidt, whose team has conceded just twice in seven matches.
Defeat left Dalian 11th of the 16 teams in the CSL and there will be more speculation about the future of their Belgian international winger Yannick Carrasco, who was an unused substitute.
Marek Hamsik, who signed from Napoli in the winter transfer window, did not feature at all after failing to score so far in a Dalian shirt.
The duo's omission was "a tactical consideration", said coach Choi Kang-hee.