Part One of Women’s Soccer United’s interview with Glasgow City Ladies coach Eddie Wolecki Black.
Scottish champions Glasgow City Ladies return to Women’s Champions League action in August with a trip to Serbia as they attempt to reach the knockout stages of the competition for the first time.
Scotland’s best women’s team were top-seeded for the first time in Europe’s premier competition, and just 24 hours after Thursday’s Champions League draw, launched a new club badge and home shirt as well as confirming an extended sponsorship deal with Greaves Sports.
Serbian champions Spartak Jaffa will host Group 5, with Faroe Islands champions KL Klaksvik, and Maltese champions Mosta completing the four teams.
Speaking after the exciting launch of the new badge and shirt, City coach Eddie Wolecki Black spoke to Women’s Soccer United about the draw, but admitted he knew very little about his side’s opposition.
“Right now, I know very little to be honest,” he said. “I’ve only had a look at websites to try and get information. We’ve played Masinac there before, and they were well attended, they got a four figure crowd, something like 3,500 at the ground which was ideal.
“Interestingly, we had the Faroe Islands as part of the Uefa Study Group at the beginning of this month, so I actually met the Faroe Islands manager [Álvur Hansen] and they invited us over for a game, but I suppose that might not be the case now.”
While scouting City’s opponents might turn out to be a difficult task before they leave Glasgow, it’s worth remembering that the club has been in this position before, and Wolecki Black knows the form.
“I think you have to treat them all with respect,” he added. “The good thing is we will be due to play the bottom seed first (FC Mosta), that allows us to see teams two and three play. In previous years we’ve stayed behind to watch, or got transport to the other stadium to watch both them play live, but the Serbians have videos of their games online, so we’ll have a look at them too.
“Klaksvik are experienced. I’ve only got wind of what their tournament is like, and from what I gather from the Faroe Islands’ manager is that they actually borrow the best players from other teams for the Champions League on a one month loan deal, so when it comes to it, you’re almost playing the national team.
After several seasons of playing some of the best European sides in women’s football and missing out on the knockout stages, Wolecki Black believes it is time for the City to show they can compete.
“I think that the last three seasons to be honest have been about us adapting and getting used to playing in Europe, and seeing what it’s all about,” he said. “We’ve been very unfortunate with the teams we’ve played, German sides for three years on the bounce is very difficult, however, it has been a big learning curve, and I think now we need to step out of our own shadows, and start saying we’re a team here on our own merit. To qualify, I think we need to get maximum points.
“Last year, all we needed was one more goal to qualify [as one of two best runners-up]. Look at Duisburg, they were seeded something like number three in the Round of 32, and got to the semi-finals where they lost to Turbine Pottsdam again.”
Following Thursday’s 4-0 win over Hamilton which sent them six points clear at the top of the Scottish Women’s Premier League, City have a mid-season break until the end of July
Asked if the break would be a problem ahead of the Champions League games, Wolecki Black said: “No, I don’t think so. I think to be honest if you’d seen us play last night, you’d know that we need a rest. We still dominated the game and created a lot of opportunities, but it wasn’t really the same sharpness we’d seen previously, so I think the girls need a holiday.
“They get one week complete rest, then they have two weeks of programmes.They’ve all been given individual programmes last night, so they’re expected to come back at a good level. Then we have two games, we go down to Doncaster to play [Women’s Super League side] Doncaster Rovers Belles, who we played in pre-season, then we’re looking at Leeds United or Sunderland for the other one, then we’ll have two league games, and then we’ll be off to Serbia.”