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Inter Miami fire Phil Neville after another losing streak and amid speculation over Lionel Messi’s next home

Inter Miami coach Phil Neville was fired on Thursday as a result of string of poor results that has sent the South Florida club to the bottom of Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference. Along with the departure of Neville, the club announced it parted ways with assistant coach Jason Kreis and elevated assistant Javier Morales to interim coach.

In charge of the club since January of 2021, Neville was the second manager since the franchise joined MLS back in 2020. The club is in the midst of a four-match losing streak league play despite advancing to the final eight of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. It’s the fifth losing skid of four games or more, which is tops among any team in the league since the start of the 2021 season, according to Opta. Neville was feeling the heat as of late, especially during the team’s loss to the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday.

Miami fans held banners calling for him to leave his post and the performance from the team didn’t help ease those tensions. Leonardo Campana missed a penalty that would’ve put the team ahead 1-0 prior to the half. Things went from bad to worse when Tom Barlow put the Red Bulls ahead in the 52nd minute with fans losing their cool as Neville subbed on his son Harvey Neville in the 90th minute. 

After fans booed the introduction of his son Harvey Neville as a late substitute, he asking for fans in his final postgame press conference to “come for me, hit the manager — don’t go for one of my boys.”

With how relations have deteriorated, the club wasn’t left with many choices especially as the sweepstakes for the future of Lionel Messi is drawing to a close. 

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“We are and always have been an ambitious club. Sometimes the path to growth involves difficult decisions and today is one of those moments. We are grateful to Phil for the dedication and tenacity he brought to Inter Miami. His positive contributions are embedded in our team culture and he represented our club with class and dignity” said Inter Miami CF managing owner Jorge Mas. “I would like to welcome Javi Morales to his new role. Javi has been a key member of our organization since day one and understands our goals.”

For now, Morales, a two-time MLS All-Star and a 2009 MLC Cup winner as a player for Real Salt Lake, will assume interim head coaching duties until a permanent solution is found. This gives the club flexibility to move in different directions depending on if they land Messi or he ends up in Saudi Arabia. In those two scenarios, the profile of coach that Miami can target changes making this a good time to separate from Neville.

The Herons will be in action next against D.C. United on June 3 at DRV PNK Stadium. 

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