While Inter Miami is not yet mathematically eliminated from the 2021 MLS playoffs, head coach Phil Neville is already looking ahead to the 2022 season.
The South Florida side currently sits in 11th place on the Eastern Conference table, six points away from the top seven with only two regular-season matches remaining.
Should Inter Miami fail to qualify for playoffs, it would be the second consecutive time they miss out on the post-season tournament since entering Major League Soccer in 2020.
Neville chose to focus on next year when speaking to the media, promising that 'next year’s roster will be younger, will be fresher;.
He said, "The building's started for next year, but these next two games are a great showpiece to say how badly do these players want it.
"They are suffering, they're hurting, they are disappointed, they're frustrated, they're angry, they're sad. Saturday’s another occasion to go out there and to prove that they deserve to be at Inter Miami come January 17th when we're back in preseason training.”
While Neville’s promises and plans sound exciting, Inter Miami will need to navigate the next two seasons with caution after facing sanctions for violating the league salary budget and roster guidelines during the 2020 campaign.
The punishment included a reduction of $2,271,250 in allocation money for the 2022 and 2023 seasons.
“It’s about building a roster, building an attitude, building momentum to win next season. This club has to win games of football, has to win things and we shouldn't hide away from that. And it's going to be tough, we've got sanctions that are playing against us," the coach explained.
"But for me, tomorrow's the start of the rebuild. This offseason will be massive for us and we've got a real big job to do this winter to get a roster next year that will mean that we can compete."
Co-owner David Beckham has been vocal in the past about helping the Major League Soccer side reach top form, and the comments by Neville cement the idea that all involved with the team will be hands-on for next year.
“I had really good conversations with the ownership this week in terms of their expectations, their ambitions and it hasn't changed from day one. They want to win, they want us to be successful and they want to compete," Neville said.
"That's where we are really aligned and this offseason, there's not going to be much time to rest. There's going to be a lot of work done in terms of getting the right people into this football club to help us compete and help us be successful.”