O’Neill loves challenge at Sunderland

WARNING ... Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill.
WARNING ... Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill.

MARTIN O’Neill says he loves a challenge – and Sunderland’s failure to find the back of the net regularly enough this season is certainly going to give him that!

Any team would miss the goalscoring capabilities of Danny Welbeck, Darren Bent and Asamoah Gyan – three strikers Sunderland could call on at the start of 2011 but not by its end.

Their departures from Wearside, for various differing reasons, have undoubtedly cost Sunderland points this season.

Ultimately, they cost Steve Bruce his job.

And it is an area the new manager is looking to address as his first priority.

Assessing his immediate task, O’Neill reflected: “The obvious thing we need to crack is this problem of making chances but being unable to take them.

“You don’t win games without scoring goals, but beyond that, it puts an enormous strain on the defence to try to hold out.

“It puts an enormous strain on everyone in the side.

“And if you don’t take them when they fall your way, then there’s always the likelihood they will come back to haunt you.”

SEE Saturday’s Mail for full story