MARTIN O’Neill bemoaned the new manager ‘bounce’ of Harry Redknapp’s Queens Park Rangers after the visitors ended a run of six straight away defeats with a draw at the Stadium of Light.
The Londoners were heading nowhere fast under previous manager Mark Hughes, but since the Welshman’s sacking, and Redknapp’s appointment, there have been real signs of revival.
A gallant 3-1 defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford after taking a 1-0 lead in the game signalled QPR were not going to give up without a fight.
And in the new manager’s first game in the dug-out, Rangers managed a creditable away draw against Sunderland.
O’Neill said: “Ours was a game in which I knew, that with Harry’s arrival at QPR, they would be buoyed and up for the game.
“They played well against Manchester United on Saturday, and held the lead up to the 60th minute, and so I knew it would be difficult for us
“I knew that having done so well there, they would want to keep it up against us and because of that, I knew we needed to play with more confidence than we did.”
Nevertheless, O’Neill had gone into the game feeling that his team could take all three points.
“I thought we would continue in good form against Queens Park Rangers,” he confessed..
“I thought we would be able to break them down, but they had a renewed spirit about them.”
Rangers had a couple of chances in the game to snatch all three points, but O’Neill was regretful that little bit of luck, that break in front of goal didn’t go Sunderland’s way.
And he felt in particular for his £12m striker who has been so prolific in front of goal in the early part of the season.
“Steven Fletcher was unlucky,” he sighed.
“He was thwarted by too really decent saves, and I genuinely thought the second one was in that Robert Green somehow saved on the line.”