New Arsenal Ladies boss aims to bring back Champions League football
- Credit: Archant
New manager Pedro Martinez Losa has outlined his desire to help the Gunners regain a place in the Champions League as soon as possible.
Losa, who took up his new position earlier this week, guided Rayo Vallecano to the last 16 of the UEFA Women’s Champions League four years ago.
And the 38-year-old Spaniard, who left his post as assistant coach of Western New York Flash to join Arsenal, is aiming to return to the top table of European football.
The Gunners will be absent from the Champions League for the first time this winter – and are all but mathematically certain to miss qualification for the 2015-16 competition as well.
“I think for Arsenal to play Champions League is like for a baby eating every day,” said Losa.
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“So that’s what we’re looking for and we would love to come back. We know it’s a challenge and the other teams are also good, but we think we can be there and we’re going to get it.
“Arsenal was for me a reference in the world of football. I always thought that if I came back to Europe, I would only come back to a big club in a top league.
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“This is what I think [Arsenal is]. There’s no doubt about the passion for football in England, so it’s a pleasure to be part of it.”
Losa takes charge of his first Women’s Super League match on Saturday, when the Gunners travel to Bristol Academy (kick-off 6pm).
Arsenal also have two home league matches to come, as well as the final of the Continental Cup against Manchester City, and the new manager is keen for his team to finish the domestic campaign on a high.
“First, my target is to win every game, so that’s what we’re going to try,” said Losa. “The second thing is to try to give the group stability and confidence to move forward and play good football.
“In the last few weeks the team has been competing very well, so we won’t touch it too much and we’ll make decisions in a while.
“Of course I’d love to be in Chelsea’s position, to have the title in our hands. That’s not the case now but we’ll work towards that.”
Losa’s arrival at Arsenal finally ended a lengthy spell of uncertainty since previous manager Shelley Kerr quit the club three and a half months ago.
Following Kerr’s departure, men’s academy coach John Bayer and then long-serving Gunners forward Kelly Smith temporarily filled the vacancy in the dugout.
The Spaniard confirmed that Smith, who turns 36 at the end of next month, will remain part of the coaching set-up – and he also wants her to continue contributing on the field for as long as possible.
“Kelly Smith can still make a difference on the field and I think the more time we can keep her there, we’ll do it,” added Losa.
“She’s part of the history of this club and obviously she’s helping me to know the club and the players.
“I want to take advantage of that and I hope also she can take advantage of my experience. So I think it’s a good combination.”
Arsenal’s clash with Manchester City in the Continental Cup final will take place at Adams Park, Wycombe, on Thursday October 16 (kick-off 7.45pm).