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O'Neill: Players up for fight

Martin O'Neill says Sunderland will look to respond positively to a 1-0 defeat by Manchester United and battle their way to Premier League survival.

Last Updated: 31/03/13 at 21:00 Post Comment

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The Black Cats saw their winless run stretched to eight games on Saturday as an own goal from Titus Bramble handed table-topping United all three points at the Stadium of Light.

Another setback leaves O'Neill's side precariously perched just above the drop zone, but he is confident that his players can steer a course to safety.

He told Sky Sports: "Confidence is a major thing in the game and we are striving for it, but I thought the players can take a great deal of confidence from that second-half performance.

"We have to go and put it right, and we intend to do so. There is a determination in that dressing room to get the points. Nothing is too easy in this game, but we are up for the challenge."

O'Neill concedes that Sunderland started slowly against United, which ultimately cost them dear, but feels the manner in which they responded after the break 'bodes well'.

He added: "I thought we were tentative in the first half, a little bit nervous, a bit wary of the quality of the opposition. I thought we maybe gave them a little bit too much room.

"I thought in the second half we started the game and we put absolutely everything into the match, everything we had. It certainly wasn't through a lack of effort, but Manchester United are a very fine side. The second half, I was very pleased with the team indeed.

"I would have liked us to have done better in the first half. It's very hard to keep a performance level like that, but we did in the second half.

"It's difficult to keep that intensity up for 90 minutes against anyone, never mind the best side in the league. If we had been a little bit less tentative to begin with, that might have borne some fruit. That said, I was delighted with the effort of the team and it bodes well."

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W

e have the personnel. The trick is keeping them fit. Carrick and Blind have missed large chunks of the season, while the defence has been one muddled mess of intermittent stooges, all coming and going at various intervals thus far. We may be just short of title winning quality, but we're half way through. An injury crisis to either of the top two could change things. Optimistic, yes, but not unrealistic.

HarryBoulton
One Point And One Conclusion For United

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arish is the man to blame for this shambles. Pulis must be chuckling into his left over turkey sandwich. I pray this doesn't mean the Neil Warnock media machine will kick in now and he'll be back on the telly box.

magicfuller
Warnock sacked by Palace

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e almost found a new way to lose, just when I thought it was getting boring Giroud does that. Although Arsenal are deservedly called 'soft' the entire midfield is out injured. Still must admit MU are managing to win despite a similar raft of absentees. Think the Gunners have good players but poorly coached.

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