Kenny Shiels slammed for blaming Northern Ireland loss on "emotional" women

Kenny Shiels of Northern Ireland Women

Northern Ireland Women’s manager Kenny Shiels has faced backlash for comments he made during his latest post-match press conference.

The 65-year-old, whose side had just lost 5-0 to England, said women’s teams are more likely to concede goals in quick succession because they “are more emotional than men.”

Northern Ireland conceded four goals in the second half of their World Cup qualifier against the Lionesses.

Shiels, who was reflecting on his side’s hefty defeat, said it is a pattern “right through the whole spectrum of the women’s game” for teams to concede a second goal shortly after the first.

The former Tobermore United player and manager described it as the “psychology” of the women’s sport.

“I felt [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,” Shiels said.

“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. 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.”

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Shiels has been criticised on social media for his comments and some are even calling for him to resign from his role.

“This level of 1970s style sexism from Kenny Shiels suggests he has no place managing in the women’s game,” one user wrote.

Journalist Philip O’Connor said: “Congratulations on talking yourself out of a job Kenny.”

Another compared the 5-0 Northern Ireland Women scoreline to when Scottish men’s side Morton, managed by Shiels at the time, were thrashed 10-2 by Hamilton in 2014.

While Shiels has an extensive CV when it comes to sides he has represented, this is the first time he has managed a women’s team. He joined Northern Ireland Women in 2019, taking over from Alfie Wyle.

Last year, the Green and White Army qualified for Euro 2022 — the first major tournament in their history. Shiels described it as “one of the greatest sporting achievements by any team worldwide.”

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