Major League Soccer

Phil Neville admits Inter Miami 'were never a team' in 2021

Lizzy Becherano
Inter Miami CF head coach Phil Neville admits to hitting the "reset button" ahead of 2022 season
Inter Miami CF head coach Phil Neville admits to hitting the "reset button" ahead of 2022 season / Andrew Katsampes/ISI Photos/GettyImages

Inter Miami kicked off their 2022 preseason on Monday with a redesigned squad, after head coach Phil Neville admitted to hitting the “reset button” ahead of the upcoming MLS campaign. 

Designated Player Rodolfo Pizarro is currently on loan with Liga MX side CF Monterrey and will not be returning this season, while defender Gonzalez Pirez joined Argentina’s River Plate in a similar deal. 

Blaise Matuidi, who has one year left on his contract, could be the next to depart the South Florida side as he did not participate in training.  

“We’re in conversations with Blaise and we’ll have an official statement on that soon,” sporting director Chris Henderson has said.

The changes come after Inter Miami concluded the 2021 Major League Soccer season in 11th place on the Eastern Conference table, missing out on the playoffs for a second consecutive year. 

Neville admitted, however, that he never felt comfortable with the 2021 roster. 

“I always felt we were never a team,” Neville said in a press conference Monday afternoon. “We were always a team where individuals felt they were more important than the team.”

Now, the head coach is looking to depend on Designated Player Gonzalo Higuain to reshape Inter Miami into a championship side. During the offseason, Neville said he had daily conversations with the 34-year-old former Juventus star about his legacy at Miami.

“He has been really strong about wanting to be remembered as a winner," Neville said. “He wants to be remembered on good terms. He wants to be remembered as someone who came to MLS and to Inter Miami and succeeded and won.”

“You look at the way he was training this morning, the physical shape he was in, that’s someone that has massive motivation to leave an outstanding legacy at this football club. And he has a massively important role to play with those younger players. I told him he’s got to lead from the front, he’s got to be an example and that example starts on day one.”

Inter Miami returns to action on February 26 when hosting Chicago Fire FC at DRV PNK stadium.