Inter Miami extend Phil Neville's contract after making playoffs
Inter Miami has extended manager Phil Neville’s contract for the 2023 MLS season. It will be Neville’s third season in charge of the Herons having taken over in 2021 following three years with the England Lionesses.
In a statement on intermiamicf.com Neville said, "It’s a great honour to stay at Inter Miami.
"I’ve always thought long-term, I’ve always thought that I want to be at this Club for a long time. I think we’re in the early growth period of this Club, the early building process and I feel as if we’ve made great strides over the last two years, but by no means is the journey finished. In 2022 we finished sixth in the league, and we got into playoffs. But that’s not a success, that’s progression. The expectation is to win."
In his first season in charge, Miami finished 11th place with 12 wins, five draws and 17 losses. It was a disappointing first season for a squad that boasted the likes of Blaise Matuidi, Gonzalo Higuain, Ryan Shawcross and Kieran Gibbs in their ranks.
Phil Neville took Inter Miami to the MLS playoffs in 2022
Last season they did make the playoffs, finishing in sixth place with a record of 14 wins, six draws and 14 losses. However, they were knocked out in a disheartening 3-0 first round defeat to New York City FC.
The club has big ambitions and will be looking to improve their finish in the Eastern Conference next season, and progress further in the playoffs.
What to Miami need to do ahead of next season?
Following Higuain’s departure, the club will be looking for a new star name to lead their line. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have both been linked to the club. Signing Messi seems to be the most likely of the two at the moment, with the talk on Ronaldo going a bit quiet.
Higuain was instrumental in Miami’s run to the playoffs last season scoring 16 goals in total. Messi is still performing at a very high level in Europe with 12 goals and 14 assists in all competitions for Paris Saint-Germain this season. Many still believe that it would be too early for the player to head to MLS as he can still make a massive impact at the highest level.
However, Messi’s motivations may change depending on how he does with Argentina at the World Cup in Qatar this year. After the tournament, the Argentine may feel it is time to head to America.
The Herons seem to be doing all they can to lure Messi to the club. They have also been linked with signing the player’s former Barcelona teammate Sergio Busquets which will certainly help tempt Messi more to join the side.
Busquets will also add more defensive solidarity to the side which was exposed in their defeat to NYCFC in the playoffs. It will be interesting to see how Miami can build on last season and much hinges on what players they will be able to bring in.