John O’Shea: Sunderland’s improving displays must be turned into points

Sunderland's John O'Shea.
Sunderland's John O'Shea.
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John O’Shea admits Sunderland’s progress will be pointless if they continue to come away empty-handed.

Sunderland have taken baby steps since their capitulations in the opening two outings of the season against Leicester and Norwich, with Dick Advocaat’s side improving game-on-game – culminating in an encouraging display against Spurs last weekend, despite the Black Cats succumbing to a 1-0 defeat.

If we can keep improving defensively, then hopefully the results come.

But Sunderland remain without a Premier League win to their name this season and with just two points from the opening five games, they remain locked with rivals Newcastle at the bottom of the table.

Today’s trip to Bournemouth offers Advocaat’s men another opportunity to break their duck and captain O’Shea knows Sunderland need to start complementing performances with points if they are to get back on track.

“Ultimately we need to get points on the board and our next chance is Bournemouth,” said O’Shea.

“Yes, performances have improved, but we didn’t even get a point against Spurs when we were hoping for three.

“If we can get three points at Bournemouth, you don’t forget the start of the season – because we know it wasn’t good enough – but then it can start to give us some consistency hopefully.

“If we can keep improving defensively, then hopefully the results come.

“The players will get fitter and stronger too.”

Bournemouth have taken four points from their opening five games, but their last outing was a dispiriting 3-1 loss at newly-promoted Norwich.

But after manager Eddie Howe has led Bournemouth from League One to the Premier League, since returning to the club from a spell at Burnley, O’Shea knows the Cherries remain hungry to prove their credentials in the top flight.

“Eddie Howe has obviously gone back to Bournemouth thinking he can cut his teeth a bit more there and it’s gone from strength-to-strength for him,” added former Cherries loanee O’Shea.

“They’ve spent a bit of money this year after getting into the Premier League, but in the Championship they were very clever in bringing in non-league or League Two players, who made a tremendous impact.

“They found some genuine diamonds who they were able to mould into Premier League players.”