Kenny Shiels apologises for 'women more emotional than men' comment after Northern Ireland Women's defeat
Northern Ireland boss Kenny Shiels' has apologised after his claim that female teams concede goals in clusters because they are "more emotional than men" was labelled "very unhelpful".
Shiels' comments came after he had seen his side concede four goals inside 27 second-half minutes during Tuesday night's 5-0 World Cup qualifier defeat by England in Belfast, prompting criticism to which he responded on Wednesday afternoon.
In a statement, the former Kilmarnock and Morton manager said: "I wish to apologise for my comments made in the post-match press conference last night. I am sorry for the offence that they have caused.
I wish to apologise for my comments made in the post-match press conference last night. 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."
Yvonne Harrison, chief executive at Women in Football, had earlier said she felt like the clock had been turned back "30 years" after hearing Shiels' remarks.
She said: "I was disappointed, I was quite shocked. Hearing a man talking about women being too emotional in this day and age, I just felt like I'd gone back 30 years, to be perfectly honest with you.
"But I caveat that with his team had just been beaten 5-0 by a very strong Lionesses team and that's not easy to take, and you've got all the media on you.
"But the fact that we talk about being too emotional, it's something women have had to face for years and years right across society, not just sport, and the comments are very unhelpful and not particularly inspiring to young girls and boys who were watching that game and think that's OK to talk like that."
Shiels spoke about his side's propensity to concede goals in quick succession - they had also shipped three inside just nine minutes against Austria on Friday - after seeing them make it to the 52nd minute trailing just to Lauren Hemp's first-half strike before wilting in front of a crowd of 15,348 crowd at Windsor Park.
He said: "In the women's game you'll have noticed if you go through the patterns, when a team concedes a goal they concede a second one within a 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."
Harrison pointed to greater investment in sports psychology in the men's game, but also to goals scored in quick succession in Chelsea's 6-0 Premier League romp at Southampton and Tottenham's 4-0 win at Aston Villa on Saturday.
She said: "If we look at the weekend's results - let's take Chelsea or the Spurs game. They were high-scoring games, multiple goals were scored in short spaces of time.
"Villa and Spurs, one was at 66 minutes, one was at 71 - were they emotional? Can they not cope? Have they not got the mental resilience?"
Get a year of unlimited access to all The Scotsman's sport coverage without the need for a full subscription. Expert analysis of the biggest games, exclusive interviews, live blogs, transfer news and 70 per cent fewer ads on Scotsman.com - all for less than £1 a week. Subscribe to us today
Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.