Sunderland’s season is not over yet

Martin O'Neill
Martin O'Neill

MARTIN O’Neill today promised Sunderland won’t be putting their feet up in the wake of preserving their Premier League status and exiting the cup.

In the space of just four days, the Black Cats saw the 40-point mark reached – the total which almost always guarantees top-flight survival – and their FA Cup dream collapse – when they fell to Everton at the Stadium of Light on Tuesday.

It might leave some wondering what else there is to play for and the worry would be that O’Neill’s players might coast through the run-in.

But O’Neill insists no-one will be getting out the travel brochures and the suntan lotion just yet, even though he took enormous satisfaction from the victory over QPR last Saturday which saw his side reach the milestone target.

“Back in December, if you’d offered me 40 points at the end of the season – never mind with eight games to go – I would have been delighted,” he said.

“In fact, back then, the chances are you might even have twisted my arm to accept 37 or 38, because when I took over, the situation we are in today looked a decent way off.

“Back then, we didn’t even have a point per game – we’d played 14 games and had 11 points – so even getting 38 points looked a bit of a challenge.

“But having reached 40 points last week, there’s absolutely no way we can afford to rest upon our laurels.”

“We have got to push on.

“I am really pleased we have got the points, but we can’t start to think about an early summer holiday.”

Full story in Thursday’s Mail