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Saturday 10 December 2011

O'Neill raring to get going at Sunderland

Black Cats boss cannot wait for first game in charge at home against Blackburn

Martin O'Neill has been working with his Sunderland players on the training ground

Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill admits he cannot wait to be back on the touchline when they face Blackburn in the Barclays Premier League on Sunday.

O'Neill was appointed Black Cats manager last week and his first match in charge will be the visit of Rovers to the Stadium of Light for a 1330 GMT kick-off.

The Northern Irishman has been out of management since leaving Aston Villa in August 2010, and says he is looking forward to the talking stopping and the football getting under way.

"I'm really looking forward to the match, I just cannot wait"
- Martin O'Neill

"It has been a long week, it's seemed endless at times," said O'Neill. "But I'm really looking forward to the match, I really just cannot wait.

"We're talking now on Friday morning and it still feels like there's a long time to go. I'm looking forward to it every bit as much as when I stepped through the gates a few days ago."

Sunderland have endured a difficult few weeks, picking up only two points from their last five League matches, and O'Neill knows he must ensure the players get back to winning ways quickly.

"There is a lot of goodwill and that's nice, but I am totally aware that goodwill in the game only lasts as long as the victories are coming," said the former Leicester and Celtic boss.

"We need to get the confidence of the players back up and the only real way to do that is to win some football matches.

"You're judged from day one, it doesn't matter whether you know the strengths and weaknesses of the team, and I know that.

"We are where we are. This League is so unforgiving. If you lose a couple of games you lose confidence and position, and it's something we need to address."

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Key Points

  • O'Neill started work at Sunderland this week
  • Takes charge of first match v Blackburn on Sunday
  • Cannot wait to get started at Stadium of Light