With the Sochi Games only nine months away, Zhao is already feeling the heat.
"We have got less than a year to prepare for the Olympics (in February) and the appointment puts me under a huge amount of pressure," said the 39-year-old. "The young skaters are battling injuries, have a lack of experience and Peng Cheng made several big mistakes at the Worlds. I will do my best to pass on my experience to them."
Peng, 17, paired with Zhang Hao last May after the retirement of Zhang Dan.
Despite the problems within the team and likely strong challenges from the Russian, German and Canadian skaters, the Chinese still have their sights set on Sochi gold.
According to Zhao, veterans Pang and Tong will be in the heat of the battle for gold, while two young pairs, Peng and Zhang Hao and Sui Wenjing and Han Cong will compete for the other ticket.
"Pang and Tong are still the leaders of the squad. They have their own artistic ways if they can finish their performances - as they did at the Vancouver Games - they may have a good chance to win the gold medal," Zhao said.