Neville: Miami will challenge for playoffs with 3 DPs playing like this

After what Phil Neville described as the low point of the season — a 5-0 defeat to the New England Revolution on July 21 — Inter Miami CF are unbeaten in four straight, including a thrilling 2-1 victory over Nashville SC Sunday.

There’s still a lot of work to do to climb above the playoff line in the Eastern Conference — Miami are 12th in the table, eight points behind seventh-place Columbus. But Neville said the inspired play of Gonzalo Higuain, Blaise Matuidi and Rodolfo Pizarro Sunday night give him reason to believe the playoffs could be attainable.

“The three DP players played like three DP players — all three played like DP players,” Neville said after the match. “When your DP players play like that, we will win games of football, we will challenge for the playoffs.”

Matuidi played Higuain in for Miami’s equalizer on the hour mark and Pizarro, who earned his first start since that aforementioned loss to the Revs, completed 95 percent of his passes in a 65-minute shift.

“Blaise, I’ve got to say I’ve not see him play better than I have in the last two or three weeks for Inter Miami,” Neville said. “What I think about Gonzalo in the second half is, if he plays at that level, if he makes tackles, if he runs around, if he plays with that quality, the whole team, staff, supporters are inspired and he’s inspired. That’s his level and that’s how good he is. He’s world-class, Blaise is world-class, Pizarro is world-class. We saw that in the Gold Cup.”

Now the challenge is for those performances to be consistent for Miami to climb the table. 

“So when them three are playing at that level, we will be a better team. That’s their challenge, that’s what comes with being a DP player — the expectation, the pressure and the need to deliver every single game,” Neville said. “Now, you look at Gonzalo’s numbers, his numbers are fantastic and he needs to keep producing those moments because we need to start beating teams two, three, four goals, we need to start scoring more goals.”