A pre-match chin-wag is the key to preparing for a big game, says UEFA Women's Champions League final referee Teodora Albon.
The former Romanian international will be in charge when VfL Wolfsburg play Olympique Lyonnais at Stamford Bridge on Thursday night, having previously refereed the 2009 UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship final among her many honours. Albon believes her playing experience is a boon in her officiating role, and also told UEFA.com that she is helped by being married to her former club coach, Romania women's U19 boss and referee Mirel Albon.
UEFA.com: What does the honour of being picked for the final mean to you?
Teodora Albon: The final, it's a big honour for me. I am proud, it's a real success for me. I just want to enjoy the game tomorrow. It's a very important game, it's very important for me and for my team also. And I would like to think that this is just the beginning for me.
UEFA.com: It's matchday, it's maybe 6.30 or 7pm, you are in the dressing room – is it quiet between you and your assistants? Are you talking a lot? Is there music playing? What will the atmosphere be like?
Albon: You know we are women, so quiet is not our goal! But anyway, before the game we are talking about the game, what can happen, and half an hour [before] or maybe earlier we are connected, we try to keep the concentration, and we become serious and we are talking only about the game. And I try to motivate them, to keep them near me. We will try also to keep our emotions under control – this is the most important thing tomorrow, because it is a big game for us and the only one problem I guess is our emotions, to control our emotions.
UEFA.com: In a big game like this, do you like to have a big decision to make early in proceedings, maybe to establish yourself in the match?
Albon: I don't know, I expect everything in this kind of game – it could be a very big decision in the first few seconds, so we are ready, we should be ready at the beginning until the end, even if it goes to extra time or penalty kicks. We are there to do our job, to do our best, so we expect everything tomorrow.
UEFA.com: It's unusual at this level for a referee to have played at a high level like you did. Do you think this has helped you as a referee?
Albon: For sure. This is my big advantage. I always said that because I played football it's easier for me to think as a player, to anticipate how she wants to play. So for me I guess this is a big advantage.
UEFA.com: Your husband is a referee and a coach – does this also help you?
Albon: Yes, for sure. He was my coach many years ago, and he was also an assistant referee in the top league in Romania, and we help each other. He's still my mentor, he's very strict with me, and if I make a mistake he is always the first person to talk about it. And because we are both involved in this life, it's very nice to speak about our problems, about our mistakes, and we can correct each other.
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