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Sport: Elite male sides succumb to thrashings more often than female sides

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An international football manager sparked controversy last week with his claim that female players are prone to capitulating because they are more emotional than men. Kenny Shiels, boss of the Northern Ireland women’s team, insisted the statistics backed him up too after his side had been hammered 5-0 by England.

But The Mail on Sunday can reveal that the reverse is true and that Premier League footballers actually succumb to a thrashing more rapidly than their female counterparts.

A comparison of the Premier League and the top flight of women’s football this season found men concede their third, fourth and fifth goals more quickly than the women.

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Kenny Shiels apologised for his comments made in the aftermath of his side's 5-0 loss © Provided by Daily Mail Kenny Shiels apologised for his comments made in the aftermath of his side's 5-0 loss

The 111 games in the Women’s Super League show that teams on average concede their third goal 20 minutes after their second. They let in their fourth 14 minutes later and their fifth another 17 minutes on. Across the first 111 games of the Premier League this season, the men conceded their third goal 17 minutes after their second, their fourth 12 minutes later and their fifth 15 minutes on.

A stark example of a Premier League side collapsing came in Southampton’s recent 6-0 rout by Chelsea in which the former conceded four goals in 23 minutes.

Our study showed women performed ‘worse’ only when conceding their second goal, with an average 23 minutes between it and the first. The Premier League figure is nearly 30 minutes.

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Shiels, 65, apologised after his claim that women were more prone to capitulating sparked huge debate.

He had said it was a problem ‘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’.

He added: ‘If you go through the stats you’ll have noticed, when a team concede a goal they concede a second one within a very short period of time.

‘We conceded in 48, with three in seven minutes or three in nine on Friday [in a 3-1 defeat by Austria]. We were conscious of that when we went 1-0 down, we killed the game and tried to just slow it down to give them time to get that emotional imbalance out of their heads.’

His players stood by him and the Northern Ireland captain said he was a man of 'integrity' © Provided by Daily Mail His players stood by him and the Northern Ireland captain said he was a man of 'integrity'

Northern Ireland women’s captain Marissa Callaghan defended Shiels, saying that the team had ‘discussed emotions’ and the importance of keeping them under control before the game.

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Vic Akers, who was manager of Arsenal Women from 1987-2009 and also kitman to the men’s team for 22 years, told The Mail on Sunday that women being more emotional than men was not something he was aware of.

‘I was very fortunate to have a tremendous time in women’s football with girls that were exceptional,’ Akers said.

Vic Akers said that Kenny Shiels, despite a number of gaffes, is well-liked in the game © Provided by Daily Mail Vic Akers said that Kenny Shiels, despite a number of gaffes, is well-liked in the game

‘Not only in their standards of play, but in the way they behaved.

‘It’s more difficult, possibly, for girls to take on board at that point. Can they fight back? I don’t think he [Shiels] made that remark with any intent to bring down the girls.

‘He’s worked in the women’s game for a long while. I know he’s very well liked. He probably thinks if he could take that [the comments] back he would.’

Elite women’s teams have conceded at least three goals more often than men, 88 times in the WSL compared to 60 in the first 111 Premier League games. There have also been concerns about the proportion of one-sided matches at international level.

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Male footballers are more emotional, we show after Kenny Shiels claims .
Men's football teams are more emotional than women's, The Mail on Sunday has found. Northern Ireland manager Kenny Shiels provoked ire when he said women are more emotional than men.The comments by Northern Ireland’s women’s football team manager Kenny Shiels were widely condemned – but was he factually correct?

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