Phil Neville defends young Miami players after latest loss: "Please, just come for me"


Phil Neville accepts he’s not the most popular person at DRV PNK Stadium these days, especially after Inter Miami CF’s 1-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls in Matchday 16.

Wednesday night’s defeat – their fourth in a row – sunk the Herons to the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings with a 5W-10L-0D record. Possibly even worse, it aggravated an already strained relationship between the head coach and the club’s supporters.

Fans unveiled a banner calling for Neville’s exit while also raining boos on the manager as the match took an unfortunate turn for the hosts. First, Leo Campana’s ninth-minute penalty kick attempt was saved by Carlos Coronel, then the Red Bulls put the game away early in the second half through Tom Barlow’s winner.

The mood in the stands got even more hostile when the fans turned on Neville’s son Harvey, a 90th-minute sub who was booed every time he touched the ball.

That last detail is what Miami’s coach has trouble accepting, under any circumstance.

“Please, just come for me,” Neville responded when asked what he'd say to the fans “… Don’t kill one of our own, don’t dump one of our own. Just come for me.

“… Don’t go for one of my boys, don’t go for one of my young kids because that hurts, that’s personal.”

Veteran Miami fullback DeAndre Yedlin echoed his coach’s sentiments, urging fans to get behind the 20-year-old academy product who's played 178 league minutes this season.

“If you’re gonna boo him, then boo all of us,” the 2014 and 2022 FIFA World Cup veteran with the United States said. “… We understand their frustrations but, you know, I don’t think it’s right to go after one player, especially a young player.”

Given the current state of things in Miami, Neville knows patience is wearing thin as the club endures their second lengthy losing streak of the season and falls out of Audi MLS Cup Playoffs contention.

“We’re gonna have to take all the criticism, all the booing,” the manager conceded. “… Our results haven’t been good enough.”