“Patience is a tree whose root is bitter and whose fruits are very sweet”. By this Persian lyricism, understand above all that the harvest time is still waiting on the side of Inter Miami. And for good reason. Orphan of the slightest victory since the start of the 2022 season (4 defeats and 1 draw), David Beckham’s franchise is still navigating in troubled waters. Worst team in America – Western and Eastern Conference combined – the Florida team still can’t peel off an embarrassing tag. Red lantern after a new setback conceded last weekend, at home, against Houston Dynamo (1-3), Inter Miami presents, in fact, the worst balance sheet in a league of 28 teams, divided into two conferences. And this, before finding, this Saturday, the defending champions of the MLS, the New England Revolution.
26th defense in the league with thirteen goals conceded, Phil Neville’s men, authors of three small achievements since the resumption, are also the worst attack in MLS. A nightmarish record that inevitably places the English coach, former Manchester United defender, under pressure. What’s more after the major overhaul carried out last summer. It must be said that the previous season, the second in the club’s young history in MLS, was a rough draft. Eleventh out of fourteen in the Eastern Conference standings last year, which placed it 22nd out of 28 in the general standings, Inter Miami then decided to change everything. In total, sporting director Chris Henderson transferred 17 players, including former Parisian Blaise Matuidi, winner of the 2018 World Cup, and former Celtic and Sunderland winger Lewis Morgan. Departures allowing in particular to register new signatures like Leonardo Campana, on loan from Wolves. But it is clear that, for now, the bet is far from winning.
An ineffective summer construction site!
At the beginning of February, before the start of the season, David Beckham wanted to be reassuring. “Things take time, we have to be patient. But will we have it [patience] too long ? Of course not, because we are winners and have high expectations. We are looking forward to this season, we made the changes we needed. We believe in this team and these players. We need stability within our club… I played at Manchester United where I had a manager all my career, but then I played for Real Madrid, [où] I think I’ve had five coaches in four years. The work that not everyone sees is the great work that Chris (Henderson) and Phil (Neville) have done”. Fragile defensively and unable to be dangerous around the opposing area, the Herons nevertheless chained insipid performances and the recent optimistic speech of the emblematic former midfielder of Real Madrid and Manchester United, now seems to take the lead in the ‘wing.
Seaside resort enjoying an incomparable attractiveness, as evidenced by the words of David Beckham in an interview given to ESPNlast March : “When we announced the project in Miami, there was always talk about which players we were going to bring in, be it Ronaldo, Messi, Neymar. There have always been these rumors. Actually, I don’t think it’s hard for the players to decide, to be honest, because it’s a great place.”. Miami, on the other hand, is far from making a sensation on the ground. A real shipwreck on all floors that Phil Neville, however, wanted to put into perspective after the last defeat conceded against Houston. Beaten despite a favorable statistical line (55% possession and 22 shots against 11 for his opponents), the former Red Devils pointed, above all, to the lack of offensive realism.
The end of the David Beckham-Phil Neville duo?
“We are definitely not ruthless enough and it puts a lot of pressure in that they only create two or three chances and we get punished. We are going through this period where we are punished for every little mistake we make. But we have to be more ruthless in attack. We invested a lot in our attack, we have quality players in attack and for me the composure in the final third, the chances we created, the shots we had on goal [devraient suffire]», tempered Neville. A measured analysis, however, does not hide the weaknesses displayed by his line of attack. And with this in mind, the former striker of Real Madrid, Juventus or even Chelsea, Gonzalo Higuain, can largely feel targeted. Still at the club despite a relatively disappointing last season (12 goals), the 34-year-old Argentinian striker can only boast of two small achievements today, both from the penalty spot.
“We have players on the pitch who have been at this club longer and who should help them, who don’t help them, who also have to lead the way. It’s a collective thing now. We are all suffering, we are all disappointed, we are all working very hard. The only way out is to stick together and believe in what we are doing.”, added in this sense the coach of the Herons. A confidence problem and a certain anxiety that the Florida team will have to quickly chase away before finding New England, defending MLS champions but guilty of a bad start this season (4 points gleaned in 5 games). In the event of another setback and before moving to Seattle (9th in the West), then receiving Altanta (3rd in the East), Neville could then pay the price for mediocre results and growing discontent. insistent in Biscayne Bay. “I have learned in recent years to have a little patience, which I don’t have a lot”, declared Beckham last February. It now remains to be seen how much longer the former PSG midfielder will place his trust in his old friend from Old Trafford…