Belfast Telegraph

Martin O'Neill playing stress game at Sunderland

Martin O'Neill returned to football knowing the pressure is mounting on managers all the time.

The 59-year-old was appointed the new Sunderland boss after 16 months out of the game, and needed no reminder of the stressful working conditions into which he was pitching himself.

A 3-2 win at Queen’s Park Rangers on Wednesday night made it two victories in three matches for O’Neill since he stepped into the Black Cats hotseat but the Kilrea man knows there will be tough times.

In an interview conducted shortly before he accepted the post on Wearside, he told the latest edition of the League Managers' Association on-line magazine The Manager: “It goes with the territory and you know the minute that you take on the job that it will be stress-related and full of tension.

“I think this is what every manager will say draws you to the profession. It is an addiction and you do want to take on the challenge time and time again. If you start thinking about stress from the minute you step into the job, you'll never be able to get up and function effectively as a manager, so you go along with the environment, you try to win football matches — because stress is alleviated by winning games.

“It certainly seemed in the times of Shankly, Clough and Bill Nicholson that managers only got sacked as the very last straw if results had been going so badly for a fairly lengthy period of time. Nowadays, somebody is waiting to take your job if you don't get a result in two games.”

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