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Neville wants England Women to be more clinical

Neville wants England Women to be more clinical


Phil Neville was not satisfied after seeing England Women beat Brazil 1-0 in a friendly as he called on his side to be more ruthless in front of goal.

Fran Kirby’s second-minute header proved the difference at Meadow Lane, but England dominated the match and might have scored many more against a Brazil team who struggled to provide a threat at the other end.

Asked how he would rate the performance out of 10, Neville said on BT Sport: “Six, because we should have won by four goals.

“In the first half when we had all those chances we should have been three or four up at half-time, and at the end when they’re getting those free-kicks you’re thinking it’s going to be one of those days when they nick a goal and get a draw, so I think we need to be more ruthless.

“I think it was a three or four-nil game so that’s why we’re disappointed a little bit.”

Despite his frustration at the scoreline, Neville could be satisfied with plenty of excellent build-up play.

Nikita Parris set up Kirby’s opening goal and was a constant thorn in Brazilian sides, linking up time and again with Lucy Bronze.

“Particularly down that right-hand side, their left-back really struggled against Nikita and we were getting in really easily,” Neville added.

“What we said yesterday was it was a Brazilian team coming to England in October and we want to be really aggressive with our pressing and we were in that first half. I think it surprised them because they wanted to play passing football and we never allowed that.”

Parris laid chances on a plate for Kirby and Rachel Daly while going close herself on a couple of occasions.

“I feel today wasn’t my best performance in front of goal but I’m an offensive threat when the girls play the ball early and I’m running at defenders, they don’t like it,” the Manchester City forward said.

“I think we played brilliantly today, it’s just sad we just got the one goal because the offensive performance just needed the final bit with the goal. But it’s something to build on.”

While Parris and Kirby caught the eye, there were strong performance all over the field. Neville called Bronze “the best player in the world” for her athleticism, adding: “She’s like three or four players in one because she can play right-wing, centre-back, right-back.

“I thought today her connection with Nikita was really good and I think with her and Steph (Houghton) we have the best right-sided play in world football at the moment.”

Captain Houghton was playing despite her husband Stephen Darby, the former Liverpool, Bradford and Bolton defender, recently having been diagnosed with motor neurone disease.

“It’s her husband’s birthday, he’s 30 today,” Neville said. “In terms of going up in my estimation over the last two weeks she’s been amazing. She’s a good leader, the girls know her well.

“Coming into camp I’ve said to her she can go home any time, she can go home today and not play on Tuesday (against Australia) but she is on it because her and Stephen have had that many well-wishers and it shows how well thought of they are.

“She’s been outstanding. I’m a lucky manager to have a captain like that.”

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