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Football - 06. March 2020.

Lionesses boss wants his team to show their "ruthless" streak

Phil Neville wants to see his side become more ruthless in their performances, after seeing the Lionesses start their defence of the SheBelieves Cup with a defeat against USA.

England were undone by two quickfire goals in two second-half minutes in Orlando, with USA’s Christen Press and Carli Lloyd notching to give the reigning World Cup holders a winning start.

And while boss Neville admits his team were second-best on the night, he also knows where they need to improve with games against Japan and Spain to come.

"I don't see a team that lacked confidence in terms of the way we want to play, I see a team trying to play the right way and it feels as if we are so close but yet so far at this moment,” he admitted after the game.

“We had chances in the game, opportunities to be ruthless, and we didn't really commit to it."

"The first goal was a wonder goal, I was stood behind it, but the second was a lapse in concentration.”

The Lionesses held the States to a 2-2 draw on their way to winning the SheBelieves Cup last year, before suffering World Cup semi-final heartbreak against them last summer.

England boss Phil Neville leads a huddle with his players after defeat to USA

And Neville was keen to reinforce his team’s belief in front of goal after this set-back.

“We just need to start having that little bit of ruthlessness,” he added.

“It’s that ruthlessness that sets the best teams above the rest and we need to develop that.

“Until we start beating these teams consistently and challenging against them, then it’s still a big obstacle we have got to overcome.”

Neville has taken a young squad to the competition, as he continues planning for UEFA EURO 2021 on home soil next summer, and handed a first start to Lauren Hemp in the game.

And the Manchester City ace reflected on the experience she gained from the game.

"It was a really tough match and obviously getting my first start against the best team the world is massive,” said Hemp.

“It's these games that I want to be playing in, so I loved every minute of it and grew in confidence as the game went on. Now we need to go back to training and recover.

"That's probably the biggest game I've played in, standing out in that national anthem with all the fireworks going off.

“It's a moment where I was like: 'Wow, this is what international football is really like.' I'd love to be in more occasions like that and be one of the stars in the game."

By Nicholas Veevers

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