MIAMI: Inter Miami fired their English coach Phil Neville on Thursday after a fourth straight loss left the club bottom of the Eastern Conference in Major League Soccer.
Miami, who are co-owned by Neville's friend and former England and Manchester United team-mate David Beckham, confirmed the dismissal in a statement that came a day after Wednesday's 1-0 defeat to New York Red Bulls.
“Sometimes in this game we have to make the toughest decisions and sadly we feel the time is right to make a change,“ Beckham said in the statement.
“I want to personally thank Phil for his hard work, his passion for our Club and for his integrity as a person.
“When we appointed Phil we knew he would give Inter Miami his all and I have watched him work incredibly hard and with real commitment towards the ambitions we set out for the club. He and his family embraced Miami and he has devoted himself to the drive to bring success to the city and to our fans,“ he added.
Neville was booed by fans during Wednesday's loss to New York -- Miami's 10th defeat of the season from 15 games.
Beckham and Neville were part of the 'Class of 92' at United along with Neville's brother Gary, coming through the youth team before going on to enjoy years of success under manager Alex Ferguson.
“Phil has made a real contribution to the culture of our club with his qualities as a leader and knowledge as a coach,“ said Beckham.
Argentine Javier Morales, a former player in MLS with Real Salt Lake, who had been one of Neville's assistants, has been appointed interim head coach.
Inter continue to be linked with a move for Argentina star Lionel Messi who is about to run out of his contract with Paris St Germain.
Neville's other assistant, Jason Kreis, who was Morales' coach at Salt Lake and coached New York City and Orlando, was also fired by the club.
On Wednesday, fans held a 'Neville Out' banner and also booed his 20-year-old son Harvey when he was brought on as a substitute.
Neville, who had previously managed England's women's national team, joined Inter Miami in the 2021 season and took them to the playoffs last year.
But the hopes of building on that progress have faded as the team made a disastrous start to the campaign that has left them them ranked 27th of 29 teams in the league.
The pressure had been mounting on Neville in recent weeks and he swore at a journalist during a press conference last month following a defeat to Orlando City.
On Wednesday he said his team had not been taking their chances but said the buck stopped with him.
“The responsibility starts with and ends with me,“ he said while conceding he was not surprised by the fans reaction.
“I understand their frustrations,“ Neville said in his post-match press conference. “I understand the banners and all that business because it comes with the territory of being a professional football manager.”
Beckham had defended the decision to appoint Neville saying at the time that his respect for his work ethic rather than their friendship had been behind the choice.
“Nothing to do with the relationship we have, the friendship and loyalty we have. He’s the right man for the job,“ he said. - AFP