Martin O'Neill: Sunderland Sack Manager After Man Utd Defeat

order this geneva;”>The Black Cats sit one point above the Premier League relegation zone with seven games left after a 1-0 defeat by Manchester United on Saturday.

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clinic geneva;”>Sunderland are without a win in eight league matches, during which they have picked up only three points.

The club said a decision on O’Neill’s successor would “be made in the coming days”.

“Sunderland AFC has announced that it has parted company with manager Martin O’Neill.


“The club would like to place on record its thanks to Martin and wishes him well for the future.”

There was no hint of an exit for the 61-year-old in chairman Ellis Short’s programme notes before the game against the league leaders, with the American instead calling for a united front.

“Of course, there is nobody that is happy with our current position and the way our season is going,” he wrote. “The reality is that we have a fight on our hands.

“But right now, it is important for us all to be on the same side and get behind the team. Not being together will not help us to get results, so let’s stand shoulder to shoulder and give the team our full support.”

Northern Irishman O’Neill took over from Steve Bruce almost 16 months ago, leading Sunderland to seven wins in his first 10 fixtures to ease any relegation fears on their way to a 13th-placed finish.

The former Wycombe, Norwich, Leicester, Celtic and Aston Villa boss looked to build on those solid foundations by signing England winger Adam Johnson and Scotland striker Steven Fletcher last summer.

Results did not follow, however, and the Black Cats fell to 16th place in the table following their latest defeat, which occurred without their top scorer Fletcher and captain Lee Cattermole after the injured pair were ruled out for the season.

O’Neill leaves Sunderland with a record of 16 wins from 55 Premier League matches.

Speaking after the game, he appeared optimistic about securing Sunderland’s survival.

“I am as buoyant now as – I was nearly going to say as I have always been,” he said.

“What is it – the half-full or the half-empty glass? I’m even going to the three-quarters full.

“There is a real determination in the dressing room. The players are obviously disappointed, but they can take a lot from the second half.”

BBC Match of the Day pundit and former England striker Alan Shearer expressed his dismay at the decision.

The timing is bizarre,” the Premier League’s record’s goalscorer said. “He is usually upbeat, but he seemed down and not his usual energetic self recently. Whether he knew something was happening behind the scenes, I do not know.”

Fellow pundit Alan Hansen believed Short’s move may have occurred because of the huge pressure to stay in the top flight, ahead of the new £3bn television rights deal which comes into effect next season.

“The rewards of success and penalties for a lack of success have never been greater,” the former Scotland and Liverpool defender said. “I have always thought Sunderland would be safe but, for the first time today, they were really poor. The alarm bells were there.”

O’Neill’s departure makes him the fifth top-flight manager to lose his job this season. He follows Roberto Di Matteo from Chelsea, Mark Hughesfrom Queens Park Rangers, Nigel Adkins from Southampton and Brian McDermott from Reading.

His successor’s first game could be the trip to Champions League-chasing Chelsea on 7 April, with that match followed by the Tyne-Wear derby against Newcastle at St James’ Park a week later.

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