Northern Ireland boss Kenny Shiels has apologized for saying ‘women are more emotional than men’ when discussing his side’s 5-0 loss to England.
He said Wednesday he was “sorry for the offense” caused.
“I am an advocate for women’s football and passionate about developing opportunities for women and girls to thrive,” he said.
Shiels’ side conceded four second-half goals in a 5-0 loss to England which saw them qualify for next year’s Women’s World Cup.
He said in a post-match press conference: “I felt [England] struggled a little bit at times to open us up to the psychology of going 2-0 in the women’s game.
“I’m sure you’ll have noticed if you follow the patterns – when a team concedes one goal, they concede a second in a very, very short period of time.
“[It happens] across the spectrum of women’s football, because girls and women are more emotional than men. So they take a goal that doesn’t fit very well.”
The game was watched by a crowd of 15,348 at Windsor Park in Belfast – a record for a women’s game in the country.
“I want to apologize for my comments at the post-match press conference last night,” Shiels said.
“Last night was a special occasion for women’s football in Northern Ireland and I am proud to lead a group of players who are role models for so many girls and boys across the country.”
The former goalkeeper Chamberlain, who played 50 times for England, said Shiels had to take responsibility for ‘knowing the value words can have’.
“I think we all know that the five minutes after conceding a goal – not just in women’s football, [also] in men’s football – you are more likely to concede a goal,” Chamberlain, speaking before Shiels’ apology, told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“To generalize that to women is a bit of a bizarre comment.
“When giving post-match press conferences feeling emotional after a big game, it’s important to make sure you speak sensibly and are aware of the message your words can convey.”
Wright tweeted that Shiels was “talking nonsense”.
Yvonne Harrison, chief executive of Women in Football, said Shiels’ remarks were “very unnecessary”.
“Hearing a man say that women are too emotional these days, I just felt like I went back 30 years, to be perfectly honest with you,” Harrison told the news agency. PA.
“It’s something women have had to deal with for years and years across society, not just in sport.
“But I would point out that with his team, he had just been beaten 5-0 by a very strong team of Lionesses and it’s not easy to take, and you have all the media on you.”
Shiels, 65, was appointed manager of the senior women’s team in May 2019, having previously managed men’s teams at Kilmarnock and Derry City.
He oversaw Northern Ireland’s successful Euro 2022 play-off campaign, which saw them secure the country’s first-ever qualification for a major women’s tournament.
Shiels described his team’s qualification as “the UK’s greatest sporting achievement”.
England led 1-0 in the 26th minute but had to wait until the 52nd minute to add a second.
“When we lost 1-0, we tried to slow down to give them time to get rid of that emotional imbalance. That’s a problem we have,” Shiels continued in his press conference on Tuesday.
“Not just in Northern Ireland, but in every country in the world.”
Shiels’ comments threaten to spoil management’s success – analysis
Emma Sanders, BBC Sport
Tuesday night was one of contrast and controversy as Northern Ireland played out a historic World Cup qualifier against their English rivals.
It was a celebration of their recent success on the pitch – including their qualification for a first major tournament at the Euros this summer.
But the 5-0 defeat ended their slim hopes of securing a 2023 World Cup place and Shiels’ reckless comments soon after now dominate the headlines that should have reflected their progress on the pitch.
There was shock in the press conference room when he claimed that “women are more emotional than men” and the extent of the offense caused by his comments was clear this morning.
Her statement underlined her hopes of being an “champion of women’s football”, but her comments will have damaged her reputation as such.
Now, at a time when NI are set to prepare for the biggest tournament in their history, their future as manager is the subject of speculation and it will be an unwelcome distraction for the players.