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Glentoran Women manager Billy Clarke says he has “never found” women to be more emotional than men when it comes to coaching either gender.

e believes Northern Ireland’s loss to England was down to “mental tiredness”.

Clarke was speaking after Northern Ireland manager Kenny Shiels made controversial remarks in his post-match interview on Tuesday.

After their 5-0 defeat at Windsor Park, Shiels claimed that the reason his side conceded more goals in quick succession than in the men’s game was because “women are more emotional than men” and contested that “all countries” have that “problem” in the female game.

Shiels has since apologized for what he said after the game and “for the offense that they have caused”.

He said: “I wish to apologize for my comments made in the post-match press conference last night.

“I am sorry for the offense 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.”

Clarke added: “I’m not going to comment on whether I agree or disagree with him, but what I can tell you is that I’ve never found that with women’s football, and we’ve been through ups and downs over the years .

“We’ve played in the Champions League, we’ve played in cup finals and in the league and I’ve not noticed it.”

Clarke, whose team is currently top of the domestic league, has been managing the Glens since 2006.

He said: “I think it’s more a mental thing and I’ve coached in men’s football as well.

“For me, it’s a mental thing across football, whether it’s women’s or men’s. It’s not a thing that happens in certain minutes of the game like Kenny has said, it just happens and that’s it.

“Sometimes it’s just mental tiredness. The other night, England had a lot of the ball, when you’re doing that, you’re mentally tired chasing after it.”

He also told of managing Glentoran Women against Swedish team Linkopings FC in a qualifying round of the Champions League in 2009.

“At half-time, it was 0-0. They were full of Swedish, German, Danish and Icelandic internationals who were full-time players and at that time, we were training twice a week. They were the 15th ranked team in Europe and we were knackered at half-time.

“An hour into the game, it was still 0-0. As it went on, we conceded a goal from pure tiredness. It was 1-0 until the 89th minute and it collapsed. They beat us 3-0. I put that down to pure mental tiredness, there’s no emotion in it. If you look at Northern Ireland, I just think we got mentally tired, rather than emotionally.

“Chasing the ball, closing players down — it’s tiring. You see Barcelona and Man City doing it [in the men’s game].”

Among those criticizing Shiels was the former Arsenal and England striker Ian Wright, who branded his comments “foolish”.

Sinn Fein’s northern leader Michelle O’Neill said: “I was aghast when I read those comments.

“I thought that was totally unacceptable for anyone in a position of leadership to make that type of commentary.”

Northern Ireland and England will meet again in a Euro 2022 group game in Southampton in July.

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