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Tuesday 17 January 2012

Turner hails O'Neill influence

Defender says Sunderland are determined to continue fine form under new boss

Michael Turner joined Sunderland from Hull City in 2009

Sunderland defender Michael Turner believes manager Martin O'Neill is the man to lead the club into the top half of the Barclays Premier League.

The 28-year-old has hailed the positive influence O'Neill has had at the club since he took over at the Stadium Of Light at the beginning of December.

"Training has been really enjoyable and the lads are buzzing to get out there every day," Turner told the Sunderland Echo.

"Tactically, he's very astute and his team talks are very efficient and you know what you’ve got to go out there and do.

"The manager puts you in a good mindset to not fear anyone."

"Since the new manager has come in, he's given the place a massive lift"
- Michael Turner

In his seven League matches in charge, O'Neill's team have picked up 13 points from a possible 21, a run which included the 1-0 victory over leaders Manchester City on New Year's Day.

Sunderland lost 1-0 at Chelsea last time out but could have come away with at least a point after creating some fine chances late on.

And Turner says the performance will give Sunderland a boost as they prepare for a run of three home matches, starting with the contest against Swansea on Saturday.

“I think we can take confidence from Chelsea and previous weeks into these three home games,” added Turner, whose side currently lie in 12th place in the League table.

"The performances of late have been superb and we've been picking up results as well. Hopefully we can come out with more positive results.

"Before the season started, the top half was our aim, but then that maybe changed a little bit.

"But since the new manager has come in, he's given the place a massive lift and we're definitely looking to push on now."

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Key Points

  • Turner says O'Neill has Sunderland "buzzing"
  • Black Cats have won four of last seven matches
  • Team want to finish in the top half of table