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Landsem plots route to top for Norway

Published: Monday 21 December 2009, 15.26CET
Eli Landsem has hit the ground running since taking over as coach of Norway after their run to the UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2009™ semi-finals. She told uefa.com about her start, her plans and ambitions.
by Paul Saffer
Landsem plots route to top for Norway
Eli Landsem took the Norway held after their fine run in Finland ©Getty Images
Published: Monday 21 December 2009, 15.26CET

Landsem plots route to top for Norway

Eli Landsem has hit the ground running since taking over as coach of Norway after their run to the UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2009™ semi-finals. She told uefa.com about her start, her plans and ambitions.

When he guided Norway to the UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2009™ semi-finals in Finland, coach Bjarne Berntsen had already announced his resignation and successor Eli Landsem was in place. The 47-year-old former international has made a good start, persuading Marie Knutsen and Lise Klaveness out of retirement and leading Norway to wins in their first two 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup qualifiers. She spoke to uefa.com about her plans.

uefa.com: How is it going so far?

Eli Landsem: With two victories I'm satisfied, though not with the performances. Two wins makes it easier to continue the work. I had to just build on the European Championship and take the good spirit from the tournament into the qualifiers, so I was very pleased to win 3-0 [against fellow EURO semi-finalists the Netherlands].

uefa.com: Were you surprised by the run in Finland after what had been a difficult year?

Landsem: No one in Norway expected the team to go so far because they had a bad winter and a bad year before. They lost a lot and there were fights but they got the team together and they did really well. It makes my job easier because they are in good spirits and showed the world that they can get results. They have the belief, so I can take things further. There were a couple of players that had said 'no' to playing for the national team, but they are back.

uefa.com: Have you changed things or gone for continuity?

Landsem: Mostly continuity as I had my first game after just two weeks. In January we will start with a training camp in La Manga and make it more my team, but we will continue the work Bjarne has done.

uefa.com: Have you set a goal for the team to achieve?

Landsem: I have a target – I want to go to the Olympics in London. And to get there I have to be in the World Cup. We know what we have to do to get there and we want to be at the top in the future as well. We have to work hard together every day and to make [the players] believe they can do – it is one of my main jobs, to sell it to the players. We have lost a bit of belief. When we were [1995] world champions and won the [2000] Olympics the players had belief. We have to come back to that.

uefa.com: Norway usually seem to exceed expectations in final tournaments...

Landsem: They do. We play simple but effective football. It's all about winning, isn't it? The players are very dedicated, believe in the way we play and do all they can to get the result. When I was a coach in Denmark it was different, they had to play fine football. We have to get the result.

uefa.com: At the EURO finals only three of the 12 coaches were women; do you expect more at this level in the future?

Landsem: It's more about the person, the coach, what kind of person you are. Most [of us top female coaches] have been players ourselves and we know how the players think, how they play. At EURO there were three woman coaches and I think we will see more in the future.

Last updated: 21/12/09 10.25CET

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