How to merge in text citations - removing spaces does not work


I need to merge in text citations so that they are set to Journal of Neuroscience format and look like this:
neural networks (Saalmann & Kastner, 2015; Kawabata et al., 2021)

However, currently it looks like this:
neural networks (Saalmann & Kastner, 2015) (Kawabata et al., 2021),

In Microsoft Word, I have the settings set to J Neurosci (under ‘Edit and manage citations’, ‘Tools’. ‘Configure Bibliography’ and output style set to ‘Euro J Neurosci’.
But still I have this problem.

I saw in other places that there is suggestion to remove spaces between each reference, which I have tried but this doesn’t help in my case.

Also, I have seen a suggestion to try clicking ‘Edit and manage citations’ then setting ‘formatting’ to ‘display as: author (year)’… but whilst this option does merge the citations, it does this in the following way:
neural networks Saalmann and Kastner (2015) Kawabata et al. (2021)
Which I can then change to
neural networks (Saalmann and Kastner (2015); Kawabata et al. (2021))
But I need the brackets to be removed around the dates, so now have an alternative problem.

Does anyone know how to solve this problem so that it looks like the normal format for this journal?
Thanks a lot in advance for any help

What happens if you make a copy of the document (always in case something goes pear-shaped) and then convert citations to unformatted (not plain) and look at them in the curly bracketed version. Do they have spaces between the close and open brackets? If so do a search and replace of } { (with the space between them to }{ (no space) I have no idea why removing the space between the formated close open parentheses isn’t working for you, but after the search and replace, it should format (update citations and bibliography) in the combined JofN required citation.