Australia news

Del Piero defends Lucas Neill

November 20, 2013
By ESPN staff

Alessandro Del Piero says the recent actions of Australia captain Lucas Neill are understandable given the pressure on him at the moment.

Ange Postecoglou has made subtle rather than sweeping changes for his first game in charge.
GettyImagesLucas Neill's position as Australia captain could be under threat under new coach Ange Postecoglou.

Neill came in for criticism after swearing and yelling at a portion of the crowd during the Socceroos' 1-0 win over Costa Rica on Tuesday evening. The defender was responding to boos aimed at his direction.

However, Neill later refused to apologise for his actions, claiming booing from the fans is "detrimental to the team."

Sydney FC star Del Piero, though, moved to calm the situation by explaining the burden placed on a captain, particularly one whose performance is under scrutiny.

"Lucas for sure feels the pressure of the moment because he's captain," Del Piero said.

"The Socceroos changed coach a few weeks ago and they have to prepare in a short period for the World Cup with a new coach -- it's not an easy moment and I think that's why something like that happened.

"It's part of playing, it can happen. The important thing is to move forward.

"I think Lucas is okay now and so are the fans. Maybe they should go share a beer together. It's the best way."

Neill's on-field outburst was labelled "unacceptable" by Football Federation Australia chief executive David Gallop.

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