Neville demands mental toughness

Everton captain bemoans penalty woe

Everton captain Phil Neville believes English clubs are lacking in mental toughness when it comes to penalties.

The Toffees saw their Uefa Cup campaign ended as they lost a shoot-out to Fiorentina after battling back from a 2-0 first-leg deficit against the Italian side.

Yakubu Aiyegbeni and Phil Jagielka were unable to convert from 12 yards as the Goodison Park outfit missed out on a place in the quarter-finals.

Tottenham were suffering simultaneous shoot-out agony, with Jermaine Jenas and Pascal Chimbonda the guilty men against PSV Eindhoven.

England have suffered similar disappointments in numerous international tournaments in recent years, going out of the World Cups in 1990, 1998 and 2006 and the European Championships in 1996 and 2004 on penalties.

And Neville, who freely admits he is not keen to step up to the responsibility from 12 yards, believes players need to change their mind-set to the decisive kicks.


He told The Sun: "It's not just once or twice, it has happened a lot.

"We just need to be a bit more mentally tough. I know I don't enjoy penalties and wouldn't give anyone advice on taking them. But it's something we need to get better at.

"It comes at the end of 120 minutes and I think we have the mentality of 'Oh, we couldn't have done any more'. But then we still have the penalties to take. That's where we have to toughen up.

"We practised penalties beforehand, well I didn't - I don't think the boss looked at me with that much confidence!

"They were going in in training but it's easy to score penalties in training - you can't recreate the real thing,

"But the bottom line is an English club has lost another penalty shoot-out and that's something we definitely need to improve on."