Boss lays out blueprint for Chelsea clash.
Martin O’Neill wants to see Sunderland take the shackles off this weekend and set about Chelsea at a high tempo.
Sunderland welcome the Blues to the Stadium of Light with O’Neill looking to reproduce last season’s successful blueprint.
We’ve got the capability and the spirit is there – much as I saw when I came into this job a year ago
- Martin O'Neill
He says an outstanding work-rate will be the key to a result with the Black Cats looking to spring a tough afternoon on Rafa Benitez’s side.
“We’ve got the capability and the spirit is there – much as I saw when I came into this job a year ago,” he said.
“We must rely on that desire to go and win a football game.
“I’ve said before – and witnessed time and time again – that the very good sides are capable of having a 10-minute period of mediocrity, maybe even longer, because they know they can turn a game.
“We don’t have that capability. We have to stay at it, a bit like last season when we were really there.
“There were times that other teams were more skilful than us, but we made up for that and we have to do exactly the same again.”
O’Neill was in the crowd at Stamford Bridge in midweek as Chelsea exited the Champions League despite a resounding 6-1 win at Norsjaelland.
He witnessed the Blues’ attacking potential first-hand but says he’s more interested in his own side’s contributions.
“I went down to watch the game and Chelsea are capable of scoring goals,” he said.
“They have lot of talented players at their disposal, with more to come back soon either from injury or just being rested.
“That said, it’s all about what we try and do ourselves. It’s really important we just go at this game, get the tempo early in the match and try to maintain it.”