Inter Miami suffered another poor defeat over week six of the 2021 MLS season, forcing head coach Phil Neville to aim criticism at himself and his team.
Miami struggled against Chicago Fire at Soldier Field on Saturday, losing 1-0 to the team with a record of 1-1-4. Chicago ended their four-match losing streak, dominating the southern side all too easily.
Miami’s defensive line put up almost zero resistance when Luka Stojanovic rifled the ball into the net from just outside the penalty box with 20 minutes left to play.
Neville noticed a pattern after the 2-0 defeat against Montreal on 12 May saw the team crumble in the first half. The following week, Miami played with a higher intensity, defeating FC Cincinnati to prove the end of their weekly decline in standings.
However, the momentum didn’t last. Neville originally perceived the match against Montreal as a ‘wake-up call’, but the motivating effects failed to last as seen in the match against Chicago.
“I thought from the very first whistle they were sharper than us to every ball and in a football game, what I said to the team is, we all want to play beautiful football, we all want to get the ball down and play through the phases and create beautiful goals,” Neville said during the post-match conference.
“But in football, you’ve got to win the battle first, you’ve got to stay with runners, you’ve got to win tackles, win headers, you’ve got to be disciplined, you’ve got to defend well and if you don’t do that, you don’t win games of football.”
Though Neville recognized the efforts of Inter Miami goalkeeper John McCarthy, no other positive comments followed.
“If it wasn’t for John, we’d have probably lost by two, maybe three goals. I don’t think any of us can look in the mirror and say we did our job right, myself included, my staff, the players,” Neville said.
The team will be tested again on 29 May, when they face a struggling D.C. United at home.