MLS

Neville 'feels full support' of Inter Miami co-owner Beckham despite six-game losing run

By Sports Desk July 22, 2021

Phil Neville accepts he is under increasing pressure amid a terrible run of form for Inter Miami but insists he feels the full support of the MLS club's owners.

Inter were thrashed 5-0 by New England Revolution on Wednesday to make it six defeats in a row, scoring just one goal and conceding 13 during that run of losses.

The Herons finished 10th in the Eastern Conference in their maiden campaign under Diego Alonso last time, but they have the worst record of all 27 MLS teams in 2021.

Former Manchester United defender Neville was named as Alonso's successor in January and has won two, drawn two and lost eight of his first 12 league games in charge.

On the back of his side's latest loss, Neville says he does not need the club's owners – who include former United team-mate David Beckham – to tell him an improvement is needed.

"I feel their full support – I always have done," he said of Miami's financial backers. "They don't need to tell me about their concerns because I have the same concerns.

"I've been in football long enough and I know the consequences – that's no problem to me. We're doing everything in our power, we just need better performances on the field.

"I've got great responsibility and I'm accountable for everything that I do. We're on a run at the moment that puts me under pressure."

Miami have the likes of former Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain and World Cup-winning midfielder Blaise Matuidi in their ranks, but they were 4-0 down before half-time against the Revs.

That performance and scoreline against the conference leaders left Neville questioning whether his players had done enough for the team.

"I wasn't expecting it. The players need to take a long, hard look at themselves, and so do I. We win and we lose together," he said.

"Ultimately it's my job to make this team better, and in this moment in time they are not. That's on my shoulders.

"When we suffer a disappointment, we need to make sure that we can recover. That's what football's all about – having courage, bravery, not letting your team-mates down.

"We're not doing that and it's something we've not done for the last six games. It's something we have to rectify ASAP.

"Did they have better players than us? On paper, no, but they're a team and that's what we must become. 

"That's all I'm asking for – a team that will fight for each other and look around the dressing room and trust each other.

"That's what I've asked them to do – look in the mirror and ask, 'What are you doing for the team?' Nothing will deter me from trying to be a success at this football club."

Neville guided England Women to their first SheBelieves Cup triumph in 2019 and to fourth place in that year's World Cup, but results between then and his departure had been poor.

Reflecting on a club-record defeat for Inter, who are also on a club-record run of losses, Neville added: "It's the lowest in terms of my feelings after a defeat that I've had since I came to this football club – and we've had some disappointments.

"You can lose games in football, but the manner in which we lost [against the Revs] was… we've said the word unacceptable in the past – it feels worse than that.

"It's a case of playing for your pride, for the badge, for your supporters – I can only apologise to them for what they saw. It's them that I feel for, more than myself or the players, because they deserve better."

Inter Miami return to action on Sunday with a home match against Philadelphia Union, before rounding off July with the visit of Montreal.

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    England have a good enough squad to win the World Cup and should be feared by other competing nations, according to Three Lions midfielder Declan Rice.

    Gareth Southgate's side finished top of Group B with seven points after beating Iran 6-2 and Wales 3-0 either side of a goalless draw with the United States.

    It is the first time since 2006 that England have finished top en route to the last 16, where Group A runners-up Senegal now await on Sunday.

    Following shock defeats in the group phase already for France, Argentina, Belgium and Germany, Rice believes England's serene progress is a sign they mean business.

    "I didn't see the France [loss to Tunisia] last night. I saw the result and there have been a lot of shocks in this tournament," he said at a press conference on Thursday. 

    "You can't take anything for granted. That's why we're doing so well and maybe why we are not getting the credit we deserve.

    "It could have been banana skins for us in any of the three games, but we've done well in all of them. 

    "We've seen big nations lose but we have not put ourselves in a position where we've felt under pressure. We've always felt in control of the group.

    "When you start to play better teams, your level goes up. These are the games you want to be involved in and get remembered forever. We'll be ready for those type of games.

    "Other nations will always look at us and the quality that we have in the squad. Why should we not be feared?

    "If you look at our attacking players, we have world-class, unbelievable talents across the board. Across the whole team, we have players who have won the biggest trophies."

    England have not lifted the World Cup since 1966 and Rice accepts that partly explains why his side are perhaps not as fancied as others to go all the way in Qatar.

    "We're one of the biggest teams here. It's down to us to prove it on the pitch," he said. "Teams like France have won World Cups and done it consistently. We want to change that.

    "All those big nations, we want to show that we're here. We are not here for the round of 16; we want to go all the way."

    The nine goals scored by England is the most they have ever managed in the group stage at a major tournament.

    Rice is one of seven players to have started each of England's matches in Qatar and he was also a regular in their run to the Euro 2020 final, which they lost to Italy on penalties.

    The West Ham midfielder is hoping to use that feel-good factor created last year to propel England to an even bigger achievement this time around. 

    "It was obviously COVID back then so we couldn't see anyone, friends or family," he said. "But we saw videos of the fans back home and it brought all the fans together.

    "We will try to keep going, try to lift everyone. It's obviously really close to Christmas now, so hopefully we'll give them the best Christmas present."

  • Uruguay star Suarez unapologetic to Ghana over 2010 handball: 'I didn't miss the penalty' Uruguay star Suarez unapologetic to Ghana over 2010 handball: 'I didn't miss the penalty'

    Luis Suarez feels no need to apologise for his handball against Ghana 12 years ago, as he hopes to propel Uruguay into the World Cup last 16.

    Having taken a point from their opening two matches in Qatar, Uruguay must beat Ghana on Friday to progress from Group H.

    However, the game at Al Janoub Stadium is something of a grudge match - at least from the point of view of Ghana supporters.

    While the Black Stars coach Otto Addo insisted Ghana will not be out for revenge, Suarez has been a hugely unpopular figure in the African nation since he handled on the line to deny Dominic Adiyiah a goal in extra-time of a World Cup quarter-final tie in 2010.

    Suarez was sent off, but Asamoah Gyan hit the crossbar from the resulting spot-kick, with Uruguay going on to progress to the semi-finals by winning the penalty shoot-out.

    The former Liverpool and Barcelona star has never considered apologising, though.

    "I don't apologise for that," he said in a press conference. 

    "I did the handball, but the Ghana player missed a penalty, not me.

    "Maybe I could apologise if I injured the player, but in this situation I was sent off, the ref said penalty – it's not my fault, because I didn't miss the penalty.

    "It's not my responsibility to score the penalty."

    When it was put to Suarez that Ghana, who could go through with a point, might be even more motivated if he plays in what could well be his final World Cup game, the 35-year-old suggested an obsession with revenge is unhealthy.

    "I haven't thought about this. I don't know what people are saying or if they want revenge," he replied.

    "The players who might play tomorrow might've been eight years old back then, will they be motivated? Some people might call me the Devil.

    "We beat Portugal in 2018, have you heard Portuguese people saying they needed revenge because we lost?"

    Suarez also referenced the incident involving Giorgio Chiellini in the 2014 World Cup, when the Uruguay forward bit the Italy defender on the shoulder.

    "What I did to Chiellini, I made a mistake, but afterwards we played together in the Champions League and shook hands," he added.

    "You can't focus on the past and revenge, that can be counter-productive."

    Uruguay coach Diego Alonso said: "For us it's a defining match and that's what matters, I don't know if Ghana will want revenge, we respect them and we will try to be better to be able to qualify."

    His counterpart Addo, meanwhile, reiterated Ghana's minds are not fixed on revenge.

    "This is what I wish from every player, to do all they can to get to the semi-final of a World Cup. Maybe sacrifice themselves. This is my perspective," he said.

    "It was very sad what happened in 2010, but we can't change it. In general, it is about perspective," Addo said.

    "If the same incident had happened the other way round people would have talked about it, so for me it is not a big topic. We are going into the match like any other."

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    "We are writing a complaint after Antoine Griezmann's goal was, in our opinion, wrongly disallowed," said a widely released statement from the FFF on Wednesday. 

    "This complaint has to be filed within 24 hours after the final whistle."

    Khazri's superb strike at Education City Stadium ended reigning world champions France's nine-game unbeaten run in the competition stretching back to the 2014 quarter-finals.

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