‘A bus-top tour would be celebrating failure’: England women’s coach Phil Neville says his Lionesses SHOULDN’T get a heroes welcome home after the World Cup because they lost
- England bowed out in fourth place after losing third place play-offs to Sweden
- Neville said a bus tour or Downing Street reception would be ’embarrassing’
- The Lionesses tournament performances saw record 2019 TV audience figures
Phil Neville has said that the Lionesses should not be treated to homecoming celebrations after the team bowed out of the women’s World Cup in fourth place – a slump from third in 2015.
The England coach rejected the idea of a bus-top tour or a Downing Street reception with the Prime Minister and said that such fanfares would be ‘celebrating failure’.
It came after the Lionesses lost a nail-biting third place play-off clash with Sweden yesterday when VAR denied an equalising goal by Ellen White and Lucy Bronze’s last-gasp attempt was blocked on the line.
Addressing the prospect of a heroes welcome for his players after their 2-1 defeat, Neville said: ‘They don’t want it, they’ve not earned it.
England’s Fran Kirby looks dejected after the Lionesses lost their third place play-off against Sweden yesterday
It came after the Lionesses lost a nail-biting third place play-off clash with Sweden yesterday after VAR denied an equalising goal by Ellen White (right) and Lucy Bronze’s last-gasp attempt was blocked on the line
Phil Neville has said that the Lionesses should not be treated to homecoming celebrations after the team bowed out of the women’s World Cup in fourth place – a slump from third in 2015
‘They feel probably embarrassed to be celebrating fourth place. A bus-top tour or a trip to Downing Street would be celebrating failure.’
Although the Lionesses left the pitch yesterday visibly gutted, their performance in the tournament has catapulted women’s football into the country’s sporting mainstream
Viewing figures for their semi final tie with the United States peaked at 11.7million, making it the most watched programme in the UK this year.
But Neville, who won six Premier League titles as a former Manchester United player, has said that he is trying to drill a ruthless winning mentality into the team.
He said: ‘If you lose at the FA Cup final, finish second in the Premier League, you don’t get an open-top bus tour.
Team mates console England’s Karen Carney after the 2-1 defeat against Sweden in their last game of the World Cup in France – and her last international fixture ever
Ellen White applauds the crowd after the match where VAR denied her the goal that would have equalised against Sweden
Sweden celebrate at the Allianz Riviera stadium while England’s Rachel Daly crouches dejectedly
‘You’ve got to win. If we’re having open-top bus tours round Trafalgar Square for finishing fourth, that’s sending totally the wrong message to my players. It’s the harsh reality of the way I want to work.’
He added: ‘The texts coming through of ‘you’ve inspired the nation’ have been lovely but annoying, because we wanted to win.
‘I’ve been brought up where winning is the only thing that matters.’
His mindset appears to be echoed by Karen Carney – who has now retired from international football – who said that the loss would spur the team on.
Neville, who won six Premier League titles as a former Manchester United player, has said that he is trying to drill a ruthless winning mentality into the team
She said: ‘It was tough. We’ve given everything and part of me is glad we haven’t won it.
‘If we want to go and win the Olympics and the Euros, we have to have a fire in the belly. We have to dig deeper.
‘We should not be afraid to say that we want to win the gold medal. No disrespect to Sweden or this game, but I’m kind of glad we didn’t win.
‘I feel disappointment, I would have liked for the team to win. That might sound contradictory, but that’s life.’
Ellen White of England reacts after her goal is disallowed following a VAR review
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