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O'Neill on... West Ham United

Filed: Saturday, 22nd September 2012
By: Staff Writer No.2

Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill shares his thoughts on this afternoon's 1-1 draw at the Boleyn...

Martin, was that frustrating for you having held on for so long?

It was. I'm obviously disappointed because we looked as if we had dealt with just about everything they had thrown at us.We were never able to kill the game off. We had some great opportunities, particularly in the second half and with a little bit more care... I know they were on the break but they were really good opportunities, 2v2s on a couple of occasions, a great ball by McClean and I thought David (Vaughan) might have scored. Just when we thought we'd seen it through, it was disappointing.

Nolan's a bit of a bogeyman for Sunderland. He scored a hat-trick against you for Newcastle?

Yes he's been a very useful player for a long time.

Was it via their pressure or from your thought of hanging on to that? You seemed to defend very deep in the last ten minutes and seemed to invite them on either by accident or design?

That's a good point. That said, we still have had those opportunities, great opportunities to have scored in that time. As West Ham were pressing forward leaving the door open for us we ought to have taken advantage of that.

Having got to that stage of the game is it all the more disappointing?

Yes it is. I just mentioned in a previous interview both in the manner in which the goal was scored and, obviously, the timing. It was disappointing - I thought we should have won tthe game. The first game of the season against Arsenal we were under pressure, possibly of a different kind and we saw it through. Swansea were flying high at the time - it was a tough game for us. Liverpool definitely had the better of the second half against us then. Here today I thought we should have won the game.

On the positive side today another goal from Fletcher?

He's playing brilliantly for us. He's scored all our goals so far but it's also the rest of his game. He's bringing other players into play and is giving us a respite from time to time. He's proving himself an all-round top quality centre-forward.

Not being flippant but you are unbeaten, so that's one positive thing from today?

We've not won, I think it's in twelve matches. Obviously I'm not over-concerned as it's over the two different seasons. We got a lot of points early on in December, January and February. Maybe we escaped relegation quicker than we thought. At the back end of the season we never recovered from Losing to Everton in the FA Cup Quarter Final. Our next game was against Manchester City at the Etihad where we drew 3-3 and we should have won that. If we'd won today - it's always "ifs" - with three games away from home and one at home it would have been a good start to the season. That said, we have to carry on and try to win a game. Obviously I believe that this side is capable of doing that.

How's Fraser Campbell?

I think he may be going for some kind of X-ray after he got a stamp on the foot. It was particularly sore. I was hoping that he'd come off the pitch a wee bit more quickly than he did because I felt the referee would probably add on another half an hour. We didn't want to give him the opportunity. Whatever he added on for the second half was fine.

Was it a stamp on the foot?

When he came off as much as he's my player that wasn't my main concern, how he was at that particular second. I was more worried about the next ball into the box. Of course I asked him how he was later on when he was on the treatment table. We'll see how he is.

It sounds a bit sinister somebody stamping on his foot?

Oh, no,no listen it could have been an accident. Sorry - I didn't realise the point you were making!

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