Helena Costa has 'no fear' of coaching men's team

Helena Costa hopes appointment will 'open doors'

Helena Costa is not afraid of the task ahead of her after becoming the highest-placed female coach in European men's football.

The 36-year-old Portuguese, a former Celtic scout, has taken charge at French second-tier side Clermont Foot.

"I'm not afraid," she said at her first news conference. "If I didn't think I'm capable of this, I wouldn't be here.

"If I didn't think the players would accept me, and if I didn't believe in my work, I wouldn't be here."

Prior to Costa's appointment, the highest-profile female coach of a men's team in Europe was Carolina Morace, who took charge of Italian Serie C1 team Viterbese for two matches in 1999.

Costa, who has coached Benfica's men's youth team and the Qatar women's side, was appointed by Clermont Foot president Claude Michy on 7 May.

She says she hopes she will be judged on her performance, not her gender.

"I know it's a big step, but we are in 2014," she said.

"I understand your surprise and the quantity of press and the impact that this has had, but this should be a normal thing. Look at me as a normal coach."

Costa's new side finished 14th last season, but she was reluctant to reveal her targets for 2014-15.

She said: "Winning is the word that sits with Clermont Foot now and, of course, it is the best one.

"But the objectives will be internal not external. Between the team we will define our objectives, but winning is the common word that we are going to speak of from now on."

Costa, who scouted for Celtic between 2008 and 2011, has also managed Portuguese lower-league men's team Cheleirense, with whom she won the Lisbon regional championship in 2006.