Sunderland must learn lessons for QPR, says O’Neill

Martin O'Neill, Steve Walford and Seb Larsson
Martin O'Neill, Steve Walford and Seb Larsson
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MARTIN O’Neill insists lessons will be learned from Saturday’s defeat to West Brom, and Sunderland will look to capitalise on them tomorrow night.

The Black Cats are back at the Stadium of Light to host bottom club QPR, little more than 72 hours after being beaten 4-2 by the Baggies.

But the Sunderland boss is in determined mood despite the weekend’s defeat.

“I was pretty confident going into Saturday’s game,” he revealed.

“Even though Albion have been going well, I thought it could be our day.

“It wasn’t to be, but we’ll fight back against QPR on Tuesday.

“I’m pretty sure of that because the spirit in the camp is good and we did well enough in this game without getting any reward.”

Much of the manager’s optimism stemmed from the way that his team took the game to opponents who had gone into the second half leading 2-0.

“We put enormous effort into trying to retrieve the situation in the second half and that was great,” he said.

“I thought the game had been particularly even in the first half – they scored a goal out of the blue and then we handed them the second one – but I thought the situation was retrievable at half-time.

“I always felt we were always in the game.

“We fought back once and then we fought back twice and even though the scoreline was not flattering to us at the end, I take no account of Albion’s final goal because we were pushing so hard for an equaliser and you know, when you’re doing that, you can always get caught out.”

O’Neill says he will look at the good things Sunderland can take out of the game against the division’s form side.

And he will look to build on them for a match against QPR which Sunderland really could do with winning.

“There are some positives for us,” he said.

“I thought there was a lot to take out of it.

“We have been beaten, but we genuinely look as if we can get a goal now and that’s something that stands us in good stead for what is a big game on Tuesday night.

“As far as the Albion match was concerned, the penalty decision really knocked us back.

“We still had a quarter-of-an-hour left in the game at that stage, not including stoppage time, so we were still very much in it up until the spot-kick – unfortunately, the referee has got that one wrong.

“There are still things that we can improve on, though I think that we need sometimes to get the ball forward more quickly and we did that more in the second half.

“But Stephane Sessegnon looks as though he’s back to his best and we look as though we can create things now.

“The players are disappointed by the defeat, as you would expect them to be. But there’s a difference between being disappointed and having your morale sapped.

“The players have good spirit and we’ll be back – hopefully for a successful game against QPR.”