Sport Football Lucas Neill defends crowd outburst

Lucas Neill defends crowd outburst

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Socceroos captain Lucas Neill says he does not regret swearing at fans who he claims booed directly at him during Tuesday night’s friendly against Costa Rica.

The veteran defender was caught on camera gesturing and mouthing an expletive towards a section of supporters at Allianz Stadium in the latter stages of Australia’s 1-0 victory.

The outburst has drawn widespread criticism from fans, commentators and former players – including Mark Bosnich and Robbie Slater.

But Neill on Wednesday defended his reaction.

Asked on Triple M radio if he regretted responding to the hometown crowd, he said: “No, not at all.

“I’m an Australian, playing in Australia for Australia, getting booed by an Australian.

“There’s no place for that.

“I think it was a case of maybe a bit too much courage juice towards the end of the game.

“It was just isolated moments – every time I touched the ball, so I knew it was directed at me.

“But it’s detrimental to the team.

“But let’s just focus on the more positives, and that was we were 1-0 up, we were having a fantastic game, we were winning the game, we were playing really well for Australia and Ange Postecoglou gets off to a great start.

“So that .01 per cent has just tarnished it slightly.”

Neill, who had a solid performance as he became the longest-serving Socceroo captain on Tuesday, has faced calls to quit since Australia’s drubbings by Brazil and France.

“I just think there’s a little bit too much focus on myself,” he said.

“I’ve always been a team player and I think we’ve go to look at the team as a whole.

“And not even the Socceroos now – the whole of Australia’s going to the World Cup. It’s not about me. We’re all here to enjoy it.

“I’ve had a little bit more attention than I think I’ve deserved. But that’s part and parcel of the game now I suppose.

“What’s important is the team responded to Ange’s philosophy – and after one week I think we’ve set ourselves up really well and we can kick on from here.”