MLS Insider: Tom Bogert

Phil Neville, Inter Miami feeling sense of urgency: "We're at the point of no excuses"

Phil Neville ponders - Inter Miami

The beginning of the 2021 season has not gone quite to plan for Inter Miami.

Miami have slipped into a five-game losing streak that has seen the club drop to joint-bottom of the Eastern Conference with just eight points after 11 matches. Though there is more than half of the season left, the sense of urgency is growing around the club.

After a two-week break between matches, coinciding with the start of the Secondary Transfer Window as defender Kieran Gibbs and goalkeeper Nick Marsman are officially eligible for selection, head coach Phil Neville is hoping the little break and boost will be what his side needs.

“The team knows what’s expected and what we need to do," Neville told media on Thursday. "We’re at the point of no excuses. We need to win games of football.”

Marsman and Gibbs join an ailing defensive unit that has struggled to keep goals out and stay on the field. First-choice pairing Ryan Shawcross and Leandro Gonzalez Pirez have both missed time with suspension, while fellow defender Nico Figal has missed time with injury.

Gibbs is expected to become first choice on the left side of defense.

“He’s a senior England international, he has great experience at the top level," Neville said. "Within this football club, he can pass on to the other players how to be a professional. In any team, any office or environment, you need leaders. I think Kieran can be a leader. He knows what it takes to succeed. I expect great things from Kieran.”

Gibbs, 31, previously spent his entire career in England, most recently with West Brom after a decade with Arsenal. He made 10 appearances with the English national team. He played 180 games in the Premier League.

“I have to earn my place in the team," Gibbs said. "Just because I came from the UK doesn’t mean I should come here and play straight away. That’s never how I’ve been. You have to show the manager you deserve to play.”

Marsman, 30, made 30 appearances with Feyenoord over the last two years. He previously played for FC Twente in Holland, mostly as the club's first choice keeper before moving to Feyenoord.

Both players are eligible for selection when Miami face the New York Red Bulls on Saturday (7 pm ET | MLS Live on ESPN+).

“I’m ready to go, ready to play and ready to help the team," Marsman said. "We need wins.”

New attacker Indiana Vassilev, a US youth international on loan from Aston Villa, is also in training. The players are looking to integrate to a new club and a new environment, which won't happen immediately.

"It's been great, I mean the first day it was raining despite everyone telling me it's always sunny here," Marsman joked.

Miami's next seven games are against each of the seven teams currently above the playoff line in the Eastern Conference. This run could rejuvenate their season, or sink their playoff hopes by mid-August.

“Like I said, there’s no excuses now," Neville said. "We’ve run out of excuses. It’s time to win.”