Inter Miami boss Phil Neville has admitted he was wrong to accuse MLS referees of cheating and promised that his outburst “was a one-off”.
Neville watched his side slip to a fifth successive loss away to the New York Red Bulls last weekend, with a Patryk Klimala effort proving to be the difference between the two sides.
Inter Miami also saw a Gonzalo Higuain chalked off after a VAR review, and their head coach launched an angry rant against the match officials after the game, which earned him a fine from MLS and drew criticism from the Professional Soccer Referees Association.
What did Neville say?
Neville told reporters after the 1-0 loss to New York: “We got cheated in Portland and we’ve been cheated again.
“I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but something is fundamentally wrong with the way referees treat Inter Miami.
“We’re playing in one of the best leagues in the world, and I’m having a great experience, but I’ve got a dressing room that’s asking real, real questions about the integrity of this league in terms of the decisions we keep getting.”
Neville takes back his comments
The English manager, who played for Manchester United, Everton and England over the course of his playing career, has now expressed regret over his comments while revealing constructive discussions with the relevant governing bodies in the American game over how best to move forward.
“After the game I said the things that I said in the emotions of losing a really important game and in terms of feelings of the last two or three games, feeling a bit hard done by a couple of decisions that didn’t go our way,” Neville said at a press conference.
“I used the wrong terminology to describe how I felt. I used the wrong word — cheat — which should never be used towards officials or in games of football.
“I had really good dialogue with both MLS and the PRO referees [organization] in terms of the decisions, my behaviour, the word used, and the respect that is needed from both sides, and obviously my assurance that this was just a one-off.”
Neville was speaking ahead of Inter Miami’s next MLS Eastern Conference outing against the Colombus Crew on Saturday.
The David Beckham-owned franchise must win to keep their faint hopes of securing a playoff spot alive, with eight points currently separating them and seventh-placed Montreal Impact.
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