Jenni Hermoso is hoping to inspire Barcelona and Spain to European success in 2017 – she spoke to UEFA.com about their UEFA Women's Champions League and UEFA Women's EURO bids.
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Barcelona may have lost their grip on the Spanish title last year but it was still a memorable time for striker Jenni Hermoso, who finished top scorer in the Liga and helped her club to another UEFA Women's Champions League quarter-final.
The 26-year-old is now limbering up for Barça's latest last-eight tie against Rosengård in March, as well as UEFA Women's EURO 2017 where her Spain team are considered many people's dark horses. Hermoso spoke to UEFA.com about the challenges ahead.
UEFA.com: You were Liga top scorer, reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Women's Champions League and qualified for the UEFA Women's EURO: 2016 was quite a memorable year for you ...
Jenni Hermoso: I'm very happy with how things are going. Our Champions League campaign has been really satisfying as we've proved we can go toe to toe with teams from other leagues. There's still a long way to go, but it's been a really good season so far. We're feeling very good at the moment and we just hope we can keep that up.
On a personal level it was great to be top scorer in the league, something I'd never done before, but it was not the be all and end all, because even with me being top scorer and us having the best defence around we didn't win a single trophy. I'd have preferred to have scored fewer goals and won more trophies with the team.
UEFA.com: How are you feeling about the UEFA Women's Champions League quarter-final tie with Rosengård?
Hermoso: We're still in dreamland but we're not going to impose any limits on ourselves. Obviously we avoided the teams who had performed best in the previous rounds and who would have been very difficult for us, although Rosengård have Marta, who for me is the best player in the world. But we think we can cause them a lot of problems in the tie.
UEFA.com: You played for Tyresö in 2013 before joining Barça. Do you think your experience in Sweden will help you in the tie?
Hermoso: Like all Swedish teams, Rosengård are on another level physically. They play very direct football, but we'll be able to counteract them well enough. They're going to play their style of football in the game over there so when they come to Barcelona we'll have to be very strong and play the type of football we know how to play.
UEFA.com: It was also an exciting year on the international stage for you as Spain reached the Women's EURO with an immense display in qualifying, winning eight games out of eight.
Hermoso: There's a great atmosphere in the national team. We all believe in what we're doing and that makes a big difference. We had a spectacular campaign and then we played top-level teams like England and France [in friendlies] and did really well.
UEFA.com: How do you feel about being drawn with England, Portugal and Scotland? What are the team's objectives for the tournament in the Netherlands?
Hermoso: A European Championship is always going to be difficult but it's going to be brilliant to be part of it. We'll focus on each game separately but we have to focus on getting through the group. That's our number one objective.
UEFA.com: What difference has coach Jorge Vilda made since taking over?
Hermoso: Jorge has been just what we were looking for. We needed to believe in what we were doing and now the team is really united, as we keep showing on the pitch.
UEFA.com: It seems that the team have lost the fear they used to have when facing big teams – is that true?
Hermoso: I think other teams now know that we know how to play great football. When you work hard you can always achieve big things. France are a very strong team but little by little we've been able to play these types of games without any fear, with the confidence of taking the game to our opponents.