Northern Ireland manager Kenny Shiels has apologised for his comments controversially claiming women’s football teams concede more goals in quick succession because they are more ’emotional’ than men.
Shiels’ team were beaten 5-0 by England in their 2023 World Cup qualifier on Tuesday, with four of the goals coming in the second half.
The Lionesses scored their second in the 52nd minute before further goals in the 60th, 70th and 79th minute. The result came after Northern Ireland’s 3-1 defeat by Austria on Friday, where the three goals came within the space of nine minutes.
Northern Ireland manager Kenny Shiels has apologised after his controversial comments
Shiels said women concede more goals in quick succession as they are more ’emotional’ than men
Shiels then claimed women’s sides ‘don’t take it’ well when the opposition scores, but in a statement the 65-year-old has now apologised ‘for the offence’ he has caused.
‘I wish to apologise for my comments made in the post-match press conference last night,’ the statement read. ‘I am sorry for the offence that they have caused.
‘Last night was a special occasion for the women’s game in Northern Ireland and I am proud to manage a group of players who are role models for so many girls, and boys, across the country.
‘I am an advocate for the women’s game and passionate about developing opportunities for women and girls to flourish.’
Shiels caused the initial stir after saying: ‘In the women’s game, I’ve noticed, as I’m sure you’re aware, if you go through the patterns.
‘When a team concedes a goal they concede a second one in a very very short period of time, 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.’ Shiels then remarked: ‘I shouldn’t have told you that.’
The Lionesses scored their first goal in the 52nd minute of the game that took place in Belfast
England added to their goal tally in the 60th, 70th and 79th minute of the game on Tuesday
Former Arsenal men’s striker Ian Wright has been among those to slam Shiels for his controversial comments over women’s football.
The now football pundit wrote on Twitter: ‘Kenny Shiels talking foolishness! Talking about emotional women ! Didn’t that man see how many times I was crying on the PITCH!’
Along with his post, Wright included two pictures of himself crying on the field during his time at Arsenal.
Former England Women goalkeeper Siobhan Chamberlain described the comments by Shiels as ‘bizarre’.
Ian Wright has led the condemnation on social media to Shiels’ controversial remarks
She told BBC Radio 5 Live: ‘However, Chamberlain told BBC Radio 5 Live: ‘We all know – and we get it drilled into us as footballers – the five minutes after you concede a goal, the five minutes after you score a goal across the board, not just in women’s football, in men’s football as well, you’re more likely to concede a goal, you’re more likely to potentially go on to score again.
‘That’s not just in the women’s game, that’s in the men’s game as well and to just generalise that to women is a slightly bizarre comment.
‘You need to kind of take a bit of responsibility of knowing the value that words can hold and when you give post-match press conferences when you’re feeling emotional after a big game, it’s important to make sure that you’re speaking sensibly and are aware of the message that your words can carry.’
Shiels has been manager of Northern Ireland since 2019, leading the country to qualification for this summer’s Euros – their first major tournament.
Former England keeper Siobhan Chamberlain described the comments as ‘bizarre’
The comments came on what had been a memorable night for the country, with a record crowd of 15,348 watching on at Windsor Park.
But it was England who were victorious on the pitch, with a brace from Lauren Hemp and Georgia Stanway and a goal from Ella Toone making it a comfortable.
Hemp opened the scoring in the 25th minute as she met Toone’s cross to send a looping shot over Jackie Burns. Toone made it 2-0 at the start of the second half before Hemp showed her class to score a third, rounding Burns to finish into an empty net.
Toone then teed up Georgia Stanway, who rifled in for England’s fourth before scoring her second in a similar fashion 10 minutes later. The Lionesses have now all-but secured their place at the World Cup next year, with just one point needed from their final two fixtures.
Northern Ireland defeat came after they also suffered a reverse against Austria on Friday