Canberra United coach Jitka Klimkova. Photo: Stuart Walmsley
Jitka Klimkova may have missed out on the Matildas job, but the Canberra United coach is looking forward to working with incoming Dutch coach Hesterine de Reus to take Australia to the next level in world football.
Klimkova was one of a handful of coaches shortlisted to replace outgoing coach Tom Sermanni as head coach of the Australian national team, but learnt last week that de Reus was the successful candidate.
The reigning W-League Coach of the Year was gracious in defeat, acknowledging the high standard of coaches in contention for the top job.
"The really strong woman won, so it's not that disappointing, it is how it is," she said.
"I am here and I came here for Canberra United … it is of course something I would love to do [coach the national team], but I am not disappointed. I am happy that Australia has a really, really good coach."
Klimkova would like to see de Reus take a co-ordinated approach to the development of football in Australia and is willing to assist how she can.
"If we will work together - if Hesterine will communicate with us, with the coaches, with AIS, with training centres, I think that's what can help Australia.
"I am ready to help her with the players, with the W-League. The competition is finished with us, now it's [about] co-operation."
Canberra United has taken a one-week break from training over the Christmas period, with Klimkova encouraging the team to switch off from the task ahead until they start again in the new year.
"We will fight until the end of this stage, we know we still have two games, we know we have to win this time, both games, so that's what I said to the girls, let's rest, psychologically from the pressure, let's meet January 1 and we'll start training and fighting again."
United's road to the finals is a steep one, requiring two wins, and even then will rely on other results.
Fifth on the ladder, two points behind fourth-placed Sydney FC, and with both teams facing Brisbane (second) and Western Sydney (sixth) in the final rounds, Canberra needs to win both games for a chance to take either Sydney or Brisbane's place in the top four.
Even with two wins, if Sydney draws with Brisbane then beats the Wanderers, the final four will come down to goal differential, with Canberra currently behind in that race.
Perth and Melbourne have an easier ride home to the finals, both playing the bottom two sides, Newcastle and Adelaide.
While a win in Perth last weekend would have relieved some pressure, having come away with one point from a 3-3 draw has kept United's finals hopes alive.
"This is good for us that we didn't lose, we took one point and this point can be really good for us in the future, that's what we know," Klimkova said.