Martin O'Neill

O'Neill's Fulham preview

by Stuart Vose

Manager looks forward to tomorrow's game.

Martin O'Neill is hoping his side can take their chances at Fulham tomorrow having taken heart from last week's performance at Everton.

Sunderland went down 2-1 to an in-form Toffees side at Goodison Park and head to Craven Cottage tomorrow looking for a first league away win of the season.

“I think everybody can always talk about points that you could have got and we played very well against Everton away from home last weekend who are going brilliantly,” O'Neill said ahead of the game.

You can make all sorts of points but where we finish at the end of the season is the only important issue

- Martin O'Neill

“We could have been 3-0 up at half-time but weren’t – we suffered the consequences of that late on in the game.

“You could talk about that or a late goal conceded at West Ham, instead of three points you get one.

“I think that by the time we finish our game on Sunday against Fulham we will have played eleven games, with seven away from home and only four at home.

“You can make all sorts of points but where we finish at the end of the season is the only important issue."

He added: “From our own viewpoint it’s very obvious that we need to score a few more goals and to do that we need to create more openings. I think that we’re starting to do that.

“I think that the talented players we possess at the football club are beginning to show the form that we know they’re capable of and that’s very encouraging.”

O'Neill will be looking to turn the confidence generated by last week's performance into a positive run of results ahead of a busy pre-Christmas schedule.

After tomorrow's game, his side commence a run where four of their next five games will take place at the Stadium of Light.

“There was disappointment in the dressing room at the end of the game against Everton who are going brilliantly, certainly a top-four team this season,” he continued.

If we’d had a game two days later then the players would still have been on that high.

“What we need to do is to take the confidence from that into the set of fixtures coming up now between now and Christmas time and really build on that.”

Meanwhile O'Neill admits his defence will have to be on their guard against the likes of Dimitar Berbatov, who has been in fine form since moving south from Manchester United in August.

The Bulgarian has netted five goals for Fulham so far this season, including a double against Arsenal last weekend, and the Sunderland boss is certainly an admirer.

“He’s a good player, he’s very talented,” O'Neill said. “He was transferred for about £30m to Manchester United so he was an exceptional talent.

“He was obviously finding it difficult in recent seasons to hold down a regular place at Old Trafford - who doesn’t find that difficult, though?

“Dimitar has had a renaissance at Fulham and is a very talented player. On his day he is as good as any.”