MARTIN O’Neill bristled at Roberto Mancini’s assertion that Sunderland were lucky to get anything out of their game at the Stadium of Light yesterday.
The Man City boss pointed out that no team could reasonably expect to win games when their opponents dominate and carve out so many chances as City did on Wearside
But O’Neill could not help feel that his Sunderland side had done enough to fully deserve the victory they eventually wrested.
He said: “Lucky? I think Roberto Mancini said we were were lucky when we beat them last year and also when they fought back to get an unlikely 3-3 draw at their place last season too. But I really don’t pay too much attention to what he says, really I don’t. I have had experienced that before from other managers.
“What I would say is that considering the opposition we faced, this was our best performance of the season.
“We’d taken a bit of confidence from winning the game against Southampton but we knew that against City there would be times when we would have to play without the ball and would have to defend strongly and we did both of those very well.
“Yet we also carved out some great chances in the game. I thought we played really well, not just defensively. Someone put it to me earlier that we had had the better, cleaner cut chances in the game, despite City’s pressure and I wouldn’t disagree with that.”
Now O’Neill will hope to prolong the feelgood factor of the festive season by producing a decent result against in-form Spurs.
He said: “Three wins out of four is great but we still have a long way to go. The win over City gives us some points and a day or two of respite. We have a few more points on the board which is great and now we have to look at keeping going.”
At least O’Neill can be guaranteed full backing from the home crowd who at times took the noise to ear-splitting levels yesterday.
“The crowd were right with us and they were terrific all afternoon,” enthused the Black Cats boss.
“It gave us a lift to know we’d taken a couple of thousand fans to Southampton just before Christmas. And the supporters followed that up with tremendous backing against Man City.
“We felt they would be behind us and they were and it is a great help to the players when they are as loud and supportive as they have been.”