Belfast Telegraph

O'Neill can’t promise Sunderland a miracle

By John Curtis

Martin O'Neill last night pledged to do his “utmost to bring a bit of success to Sunderland”.

O'Neill signed a three-year deal on Saturday to succeed Steve Bruce at the Stadium of Light and was in the stands yesterday afternoon as the Black Cats went down 2-1 to Wolves at Molineux.

The former Leicester, Celtic and Aston Villa manager is excited to be back in the game after a year-long absence but refused to make any outlandish promises.

“It's a nice feeling to be back in football and obviously I'm very excited about joining Sunderland,” he said. “It's a big moment and I'm hoping it works out well.

“Naturally I want to do well for the fans, the team and myself. If we can combine all this and start winning football matches it would be terrific.

“All I can say, without promising the earth, moon and stars is I will do my utmost to bring a bit of success to Sunderland.”

The former Northern Ireland skipper grew up a Sunderland fan due to his admiration for Cork-born great Charlie Hurley.

“You were either Celtic or Rangers in terms of a religious divide, but most of the boys took an English team too,” he said.

“Much to the laughing of one or two who took Manchester United and teams like that, I took Sunderland, with Charlie Hurley (being there). I never regretted it.”

Mick McCarthy admitted he is glad he has made life more difficult for O'Neill after his Wolves side came from behind to win at Molineux.

When McCarthy was asked if he had any advice for O'Neill, the former Sunderland boss said: “No, I'm just glad I've made his job harder for on Monday morning. Martin is a pal of mine but I didn't want to do him any favours. I don't do advice; I'd take some off him if he wants to give it!”

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