Scotland head coach Pedro Martinez Losa has one main ambition for the new year, and that’s securing a place at the 2023 Women’s World Cup.
The former Arsenal and Bordeaux women’s boss took charge of the national side in the summer and immediately recorded three qualifying wins, beating Sweden then Hungary home and away.
An 8-0 defeat in his native Spain ended any chance of winning their group but Scotland are still second and Martinez Losa is feeling confident about his ambitions for the new year.
“What I see is playing in a play-off and qualifying for the World Cup,” he said when predicting what 2022 will hold.
“That would be the dream. Obviously what we want to do is to try and win every match.
“Every goal and result is important, in terms of the coefficient for the future and the play-offs.
“We are aware of the things we need to improve and what we want to improve. That’s our objective and we are on that route.”
The Spaniard admits he has concerns about how to manage his players as he targets a place at the World Cup in 2023.
It follows comments from England counterpart Sarina Wiegman who raised her own fears about players’ workloads, with so many players now playing in the Champions League as well as domestic football.
“We want to try and be the best second-placed team,” Martinez Losa said.
“But the amount of games the players are having to play is increasing massively as are the rates of injury.
“We have to consider how we manage the players and that potential risk of injury.”
Becoming Scotland boss
Martinez Losa came into women’s football almost by chance after being offered the coach’s job at Women’s Superliga side, CF Pozuelo de Alarcon, in 2007, when he was just 21.
Over the next 14 years, his desire for rapid progress led him to success in women’s football in Spain, the USA, England and France, before he was offered the Scotland job – replacing Shelley Kerr who left after failing to qualify for the Euros.
“I’d had good experiences with the Scottish players I’d coached before and I saw Scotland as a potential national team with talent that could be developed,” he said.
“I also saw the need for the country to make progress in the women’s game.
“I don’t think we’ve made big changes since coming in, it’s just trying to cover some weaknesses the team had in the past.
“We’ve shown in the past we can achieve some good results and prefer to focus on the process and increasing the levels of the players.
“We give a lot of detail to the players in terms of collective preparations from the opponent, from us, to the individual players.
“Habits don’t change from one day to the other, habits need to be worked on consistently.”