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Phil Neville: 'Spain victory would make for successful SheBelieves Cup campaign'

Phil Neville: 'Spain victory would make for successful SheBelieves Cup campaign'
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England defeated Japan after losing their opening match to the United States.

Phil Neville believes victory over Spain on Wednesday would make it a successful SheBelieves Cup campaign for England.

Neville and his side came in for criticism after a 2-0 defeat by the United States in their opening match but they responded well to beat Japan 1-0 on Sunday.

The England boss concedes England are unlikely to successfully defend their title whatever the result in Dallas, with the US going into their final match against Japan as heavy favourites.

Neville said on Sky Sports: “I would expect USA to probably get maximum points so probably six points won’t be enough but I think six points going into this tournament would resound as a successful tournament for us.

“We got seven last year and won and the year before that we got four so it would still resonate to me in terms of the young group that we’ve got. I think it would be a real satisfactory tournament. And that’s now the challenge.”

Youngsters Lauren Hemp, Chloe Kelly and Ellie Roebuck all started against Japan, while Alessia Russo, Sandy MacIver and Grace Fisk were unused substitutes.

Neville started with Bethany England up front but the goal came from the tried-and-tested combination of substitutes Toni Duggan and Ellen White.

Results and performances over the last week would indicate Spain will provide a more serious obstacle than Japan.

Spain were comfortable 3-1 winners over Japan in their opening match and impressed against the US before falling to an 87th-minute winner.

Neville said: “It’s going to be a step up. Spain are better than Japan and it will be an even tougher challenge for us.”

Boss Neville accepts there is still work to do for his England squad to get back to the form they showed in the build-up to the 2019 World Cup and their subsequent run to the semi-finals in France.

Veteran Manchester City midfielder Jill Scott feels the Lionesses are starting to move in the right direction again.

Scott told BBC Sport: “We keep talking about getting that momentum, but we are focusing on playing a certain style.

“We want to build consistency and that is a process, it is not something that is just going to happen overnight.

“You need hours on the training pitch, so trips like this are vital – then the performances and the results should eventually take care of themselves.”

Neville has seen his position come under scrutiny following a poor run of form since the World Cup.

The former Manchester United and Everton defender is also set to take charge of the Team GB squad at the 2020 Olympics.

Neville, though, maintains he will not outstay his welcome if the long-term plan does not stay on course.

“I will know myself if it is not working,” Neville said to BBC Sport. “I will know if it’s time to go and (the FA) know I’m that type of person. If they (FA) start wobbling, then it’s time to change and to look elsewhere.

“You have to look beyond the criticism. I own a football club myself and I think it’s important to give support to the manager.

“Stability is the key to success and I am lucky I have that from the people I work for. There is a real balance and acceptability that we have to improve but (the FA) know the journey we are going on.”


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