Phil Neville says he can handle the criticism – but he can’t | Suzanne Wrack

On Tuesday night the England manager accused one reporter of wanting him sacked when that was not the case and at this rate he is talking himself out of the job

Sometimes it can feel like Phil Neville is speaking a different language. Following a gritty win against Portugal he was bullish about England’s progress: “The performances over the last two games in my opinion have been outstanding,” he said. “I’m pleased with the players, I’m pleased with the spirit, I’m pleased with the direction that we’re going.”

Except this was not an outstanding performance. It was a disjointed one. The Lionesses were wasteful up front and struggled to stretch or break down a well-organised Portuguese defence. The goal was lucky: a gift from goalkeeper Patrícia Morais who spilled the ball into the path of Beth Mead.

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