MIAMI (WSVN) – Inter Miami’s training camp is starting up once again, and head coach Phil Neville is prepared to welcome the world’s top players to the team.
Phil Neville: Ultimately you need to perform on the pitch and performance on the pitch means that the owner has confidence in the staff, management, and players. This is my third season.
Mike DiPasquale: Regarding your relationship with David Beckham, I remember the opening press conference, where he made it clear about your friendship and you being former teammates, but he hired you as his manager. How do you balance that with him?
Phil Neville: Well, one word I’d like to use is trust. He trusts me immensely, he trusts me to get up and do my job. He’s supportive all the time and we have to act in a professional way.
Mike DiPasquale: Have you changed the culture here? Because you brought in 18 new players last season and people were wondering, ‘What is he doing here?’ or ‘Who is he looking for?’
Phil Neville: It’s never been done before, that turnaround. We got rid of the individuals that thought themselves more important than the team and what we had last year is fundamental. We had a team that was heading in the right direction. We had no idea it was on this team. I think when you have 24 really good people and when they’re all working hard, the bad apples get sit out. They stand out like a sore thumb and get exposed.
Mike DiPasquale: Phil, one of your top players, last season, especially in the second half of the season, Gonzalo Higuaín, is retired. How do you replace a player like that? Is Leo Campana? He was hurt a lot of the season but when he was healthy, you turned to him.
Phil Neville: With Leo Campana, what we saw over the course of the season was someone that developed incredibly quickly. [Higuaín] was someone that was a match-winner. We need now someone that can replace his goals or someone that can score even more. I believe that Leo can do that.
Mike DiPasquale: You said you believe this club can sign any player in the world, Messi’s name is always thrown out there.
Phil Neville: Is it? I’ve never heard that one.
Mike DiPasquale: He has a verbal agreement with PSG and everyone is saying, ‘Look, he’s at the end of his career and he wants to come to Miami.’ or rather, the talks ae that he wants to come to Miami.
Phil Neville: This town demands the best, its standards are incredible and they want to be entertained and that’s what we’re gonna do. I think when we started to build this football club, there were certain things that we wanted and that was to bring the best players to Miami. Messi is one of the best, if not, the best.
Mike DiPasquale: What is your message to your team right out of the gate?
Phil Neville: If you’re not at the level on day one of what I believe can play in that playoff game by the end of the season, you’re out the door — you’re not on the team. We’re not going to accept anything other than second best. Last year, when we finished in sixth, was good but it wasn’t great. It was good but it was not good enough for me. We have to finish in the top four, we have to get a home play-off, and we have to win trophies. They have to make sure they got on that train because this year that train is going even faster than last year.
It sounds like Neville is cracking the whip on his players this season.
As far as two of the key players from last season, Rodolfo Pizarro and Alejandro Pozuelo are not under contract.
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