Inter Miami head coach Phil Neville is set to lead the South Florida team into their third Major League Season with one goal: reaching the playoffs.
Since debuting in 2020, the expansion team has failed to make an impact on the Eastern Conference standings. Inter Miami concluded 2020 in 10th place and dropped to 11th on the table during their 2021 campaign.
Now, Neville insists the team is different.
He spoke exclusively to 90min about the expectations that come with a new season, and the foundation he hopes to build with a newly-revamped Inter Miami.
What are the expectations going into the 2022 season?
“I think we’ve worked really hard in the off season to amass a roster that we’re happy with. We want to compete. We want to compete in this league. We want better results, we want better performances and we want consistency in everything that we do.
“As we approach the first game of the season, there’s a lot of excitement because it’s a new and exciting, hungry team that wants to compete.
“And in this league, I always say that to compete, you’ve got to qualify for the playoffs, you’ve got to reach the playoffs. That’s the first hurdle that we want to get to.”
You previously mentioned that you were not able to build the desired foundation of the club with the previous group of players, forcing a roster reset- does the situation feel different with the current squad?
“Yeah, I do. I think we’ve made some big decisions. We feel it will give us the best characters and profiles and performance levels that will help us to compete.
“It’s a nice feeling when you go on to a training ground or you’re going onto a pitch for a game and you think: these are my boys now, these are the boys that I chose and these are the boys that I want to go on the journey with, and that fills me with a lot of confidence.”
How do the new recruits fit into the style you hope to achieve on the pitch?
“We want to play a certain style and that’s why our recruitment was so exhausting. We wanted a certain type of player, not a player that would come in, that didn’t fit the profile that we wanted.
“So we brought in the players that would fit the type of football that we wanted to play, the type of culture we wanted to build. And we feel as if we’ve done that now.
“Now it’s about making them into an even better team. Now they’re all in here together.”
What do you hope to build with the club and therefore reflect on the pitch?
“We want to build a real proper football club. I think we’ve got the foundations of this football club. I think we’re massively strong in terms of everything that surrounds football: the marketing, the commercial, our media, and social media platforms. Our supporters are the best in the league.
“So around the football side, I think we’ve got incredible foundations with some of the most talented workers that I’ve ever worked with. Now we just need to get it right on the pitch, and I feel as if that’s fundamental to our success.
“But we’ve got massive quality off the pitch in terms of the brand. Our new kit is, for me, one of the best kits I’ve ever seen. I can’t wait to see the players walk out in it on Saturday. So apart from the football side, everything else is brilliant. Now we just need to get the football bit right.”
What’s the most exciting aspect of the upcoming season?
“The most exciting thing is probably the thing that makes me most nervous: and that’s not knowing what the results are going to be, not knowing how this new team is going to be.
“It’s young, it’s fresh with young players and you give them the opportunities. They’re fearless, but I want them to go out there and perform.
“It’s like, it’s like when your children go out and you let go of them, they move out, they go to college or university. You want them to prosper, you want them to perform, you want them to enjoy themselves. And that’s how I feel about my boys.”