Martin O'Neill

MON: No let-up

Published:
by Stuart Vose

Boss weighs up QPR clash.

Martin O’Neill says his side must keep their heads down and graft every single minute as they prepare to face QPR tomorrow night.

New Rangers boss Harry Redknapp takes his side north for his first match in charge, but O’Neill’s focus is solely on his own squad.

We must go and compete, which we have been doing, and get that bit of luck which maybe has deserted us

- Martin O'Neill

“It’s very much down to what we do,” he said ahead of the game.

“I think we have a fair idea of the strengths and weaknesses of teams, and likewise that information is available to them about us.

“It’s down to ourselves; we must go and compete, which we have been doing, and get that bit of luck which maybe has deserted us.

“Luck aside, we must go out and play for the full 90 minutes.”

Sunderland lost out in a six-goal thriller against in-form West Brom last time out as they twice launched comebacks only to lose out on the counter-attack.

The Black Cats have suddenly lit the blue touch paper up front, with Stephane Sessegnon leading the way with goals in each of his last two games.

“A couple of weeks ago we were talking about how we couldn’t score, and now we’ve scored six goals in three matches,” O’Neill added.

“Our defence was reasonably strong, and now we’re conceding goals.

We are certainly not good enough to coast through a game

- Martin O'Neill

“That’s the nature of the game. We are capable of winning games, we have to stick at it and we have to perform for the full length of time.

“We are certainly not good enough to coast through a game. We don’t have that ability at the moment. Not many teams in the league do.

“The best sides can take their foot off the pedal for 10 and 15 minutes knowing they have the quality to get a goal.

“At this minute we don’t have that – we have to be full-on for the whole game.”

Tuesday’s opponents are without a league win all season and have collected four points from their first 13 games.

But O’Neill says they will head north in good spirits with Redknapp at the helm and following a battling performance in a 3-1 defeat at Manchester United.

“Harry is an excellent manager, and it’s a difficult game for us,” he explained.

We are certainly not good enough to coast through a game

- Martin O'Neill

“Although they haven’t won this season, I’ve watched QPR play a few times and there was one particular game where I thought they were very unlucky.

“If the ball goes into the net at a given moment, it can turn everything.

“They’ll come here with some confidence following their performance at Manchester United.”

And the Sunderland boss says the table is still in an embryonic form and feels positions can quickly change.

“We are capable of winning football matches,” he reiterated.

“The table is so concertinaed at the moment. Two wins can rocket you up the table.

“Three or four points separate a host of teams. I’m not talking about the very best sides, who are up there on merit.

“They have the best players and the best squads, and for the rest of us it’s a fight right from August to May.”