England manager Phil Neville has admitted that he must take full responsibility for his side’s poor run of results since the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019.
The Lionesses were defeated 2-1 by Germany at Wembley Stadium on Saturday evening, their third defeat in five international friendly matches since England returned from France in the summer.
England were second best for large periods of the match but looked set to record a draw until Klara Buhl struck a late winner to send the 77,768-strong crowd home bitterly disappointed.
Speaking to FA Women’s Super League Full-Time in the post-match press conference, England boss Neville admitted that the responsibility for the Lionesses’ poor form belongs with him.
“It starts with me” said Neville. “I’m the one who is responsible for those results, I’m the one who picks the team, I am the one who sets the tactics, I train them, I talk to them, I communicate with them.
“Ultimately, the buck has got to start with me and finish with me.
“The team always reflects the manager and at this moment in time, the results aren’t good enough.”
England started the match sluggishly and they were lucky not to be 1-0 down inside three minutes when Alexandra Popp’s venomous shot rattled the crossbar. That was a sign of what was to come and Neville highlighted the Lionesses’ slow start as one of the contributing factors of the defeat.
He added “The first 22 minutes and the last eight minutes of the game have cost us.
“We weren’t good enough and Germany were better than us in those periods.
“It was a sickener given the emotional high of the occasion today.
“The best players have to pick themselves up and we go again on Tuesday.”
England have only managed to defeat a Portugal side who are well below them in the FIFA Women’s World Rankings in their last seven matches and Neville said that nobody could hide from an unacceptable sequence of results.
“There’s no hiding place” said the England boss. “One win in seven is totally unacceptable.
“It is not what I see as success and it is something that I think we need to do something about very, very quickly.
“We can talk about coming down from the emotional highs and feeling the fatigue of the World Cup but when you get into November that becomes an excuse.
England must now attempt to return to winning ways against the Czech Republic, a side ranked 28th in the world, in Ceske Budejovic on Tuesday.