Portugal women v England women: I don’t feel vulnerable – Phil Neville

Media playback is not supported on this device

Phil Neville says he “does not feel vulnerable” as England manager before Tuesday’s friendly against Portugal.

His side have failed to win any of their last five games.

The Lionesses have conceded nine goals since this summer’s World Cup semi-final defeat by the USA.

“If I thought it wasn’t working, if I thought the players had switched off and weren’t listening to my messages, I would be the first to say we need to change,” said Neville.

England suffered a 2-1 defeat to Brazil in Saturday’s friendly in Middlesbrough.

“I’m not the kind of manager that hangs around waiting for a pay out – I want this team to do well,” Neville added.

“I still believe in what we are doing and so do the players. We are in an era now – we saw it in the Premier League this week – you lose two or three games and all of a sudden it’s ‘out’. People are calling for your head.

“It’s gone that well for the last 18 months that this period might be what we need – a kick up the backside, a jolt.”

Neville said the friendly with Portugal is now “a must-win game” and the team have endured “the peak of our suffering.”

“The players know they have to win because of the run we’re on,” said Neville. “It’s unusual. We are not used to it.

“We know what we need to do. We are on the right road but we realise we might need to suffer a little bit.”

England will be without several key players including midfielder Jill Scott and defenders Millie Bright and Demi Stokes.

Scott withdrew with an ankle strain, while Manchester City team-mate Lauren Hemp and Everton forward Chloe Kelly have been called into the squad.

‘We expect to be criticised’

England have suffered 2-1 defeats to Sweden and Brazil, as well as being held to a frustrating 3-3 draw with Belgium since returning from the World Cup this summer.

It is the first time since 2013 – when former manager Hope Powell was sacked – that England have failed to win in five games.

But Neville says the squad ‘expect to be criticised’ and it is ‘what we have wanted’ in the women’s game.

“If we play well praise us, if we don’t play well criticise us. Don’t just think it’s a fan fair and you’ve come to watch a game of women’s football,” said Neville.

“We’re moving towards that area where it is in the men’s game where there is real criticism and real praise and not much in between. That is what we have wanted so we can’t moan now.”

Arsenal defender Leah Williamson, who started the defeat to Brazil, added that the pressure to win is “quite refreshing”.

“There’s always pressure to win, there should always be pressure to win, especially with the team we have. We expect it ourselves so I wouldn’t not expect it from everyone else,” she said.

Source: Read Full Article