Northern Ireland manager Kenny Shiels has claimed that his team concede goals in quick succession because ‘women are more emotional than men’.
Northern Ireland hosted England in a qualifier on Tuesday evening and went 1-0 down after 26 minutes through Lauren Hemp’s goal.
Ella Toone doubled England’s lead in the second half before Hemp scored her second of the game eight minutes later. Georgia Stanway then scored twice in the space of nine minutes to complete England’s win.
The result means Northern Ireland have missed out on a place at next year’s Women’s World Cup, while England are on course to finish top of their qualifying group after winning all eight of their games so far.
But Shiels attracted widespread criticism after the game by claiming that his players had an ’emotional imbalance’ after England scored their goals.
‘I felt they [England] were struggling a wee bit at times to open us up until the psychology of going 2-0 up in the women’s game, I’m sure you will have noticed if you go through the patterns, when a team concedes a goal, they concede a second one in a very, very short space of time,’ Shiels said.
‘Right through the whole spectrum of the women’s game, because girls and women are more emotional than men. So, they take a goal going in not very well.
‘When we went 1-0 down we tried to slow it down to give them time to get that emotional imbalance out of their heads.
‘That’s an issue we have. Not just in Northern Ireland but all of the countries in the world. I shouldn’t have told you that.’
Former England goalkeeper Siobhan Chamberlain hit out at Shiels’ ‘bizarre’ verdict.
‘I think we all know that the five minutes after you concede a goal – not just in women’s football, [also] in men’s football – you’re more likely to concede a goal,’ Chamberlain, who was capped 50 times by England, told BBC Five Live.
‘To just generalise that to women is a slightly bizarre comment.
‘When you give post-match news conferences when you’re feeling emotional after a big game, it’s important to make sure that you are speaking sensibly and are aware of the message that your words can carry.’
Former Arsenal striker Ian Wright also accused Shiels of ‘talking foolishness’.
Wright posted on Twitter: ‘Kenny Shiels talking foolishness! Talking about emotional women ! Didn’t that man see how many times I was crying on the PITCH! kmt’
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