Inter Miami boss Phil Neville has highlighted the increased ‘trust’ between his players as the key to their recent turnaround in form.
The Herons have lost just one of their last seven games, taking 14 points during that time after only managing eight points from their opening 12.
Miami beat Toronto FC 3-1 in Florida on Saturday, giving them back-to-back wins for just the second time in club history, while it’s the first time they’ve tasted victory by more than one goal.
As a result, they’re now just five points adrift of the playoff spots with games in hand on those above them. Speaking after the match, Neville credited his players for the amount of trust they now have in each other.
“We are a different team than we were one month ago, two months ago,” he told reporters (via MLSsoccer.com). “We’re a different team from what I saw the first day of preseason training. We’re a team now that’s beginning to trust each other. It does feel good.”
Neville added: “The players are now gaining lots of confidence and belief and trust in each other and we’ve got to keep that momentum going.
“It’s a grind, this league is a marathon and the first half of the marathon we were lagging behind everyone. Now we’ve given ourselves a chance by getting some victories and getting ourselves within touching distance of those above us. The players are enjoying that challenge.”
One player brimming with confidence right now is Rodolfo Pizarro.
The Mexico international, one of Inter Miami’s three Designated Players, has netted three goals in his last two appearances after failing to find the net at all this season prior.
Less than 20 minutes after doubling his tally for the night to give his side a 3-0 lead, Neville took the decision to withdraw Pizarro, giving him a hard-earned rest.
It was a decision that clearly frustrated Pizarro, though that is something Neville definitely sees as a positive.
“I actually really loved his reaction in terms of the anger to come off because we’ve seen many times this season when he’s been disappointed coming off, when he’s been disappointed in himself,” Neville responded when asked about Pizarro’s frustration. “Now he’s got that hunger and desire to want to stay on the pitch and score goals. He’s got his confidence back, three goals in two goals tells me he’s just getting better and better.”
Miami face a Rivalry Week trip to Orlando City next time out before travelling to FC Cincinnati at the start of September.