MARTIN O’NEILL has branded weekend rumours suggesting he offered to resign as Sunderland manager as “lazy”.
O’Neill was as surprised as anyone else by a whirlwind of speculation on Saturday night that he had offered to quit as Sunderland boss after the 4-2 defeat against West Brom.
Both ESPN, along with talkSPORT radio host Stan Collymore, who spent four months working under O’Neill at Leicester City, were at the centre of the claims.
Sunderland were forced to rubbish the rumours, although O’Neill insists he has not been perturbed by the talk.
O’Neill told the Echo: “Stan Collymore is apparently the one who has run with the thing and I’m kind of disappointed in that.
“It’s given credence to something that never existed in the first place.
“I think it’s lazy, but it’s indicative of the time we’re in, because people are looking for the headline and they want to be the first with it, regardless of what it is.
“I really do treat it with a pinch of salt.
“If you start to go and vehemently deny something, then people say ‘well why is he denying something?’ and it runs and runs.
“It’s the age in which we’re in and there’s not much I can do about it.
“Am I really bothered about it? Not at all.”
Sunderland’s return of a modest 12 points from their opening 12 Premier League games has inevitably put scrutiny on O’Neill’s position, even though he won’t mark a year in charge at the Stadium of Light until next week.
But O’Neill points to his managerial record as evidence that he is hardly quick to jump ship.
Other than a six-month spell at Norwich City, when he had a dispute with then chairman Robert Chase, O’Neill has spent a minimum of four years at every professional club he has managed.
And although O’Neill resigned as manager of Aston Villa, the circumstances surrounding his exit remain clouded.
“It’s very easy to Google and pick up someone’s (managerial) record,” he added.
“I had five years at Wycombe, four-and-a-half at Leicester City, five years at Celtic and four years at Aston Villa.
“I’ve only had one other club during that time and that was Norwich City, where there was a disagreement with the chairman.
“My departure at Aston Villa is still a point of debate for somewhere along the way, but not for now.