Martin O’Neill screens cup woe repeat

VIDEO NASTY: Martin O'Neill makes squad sit through a showing of the cup defeat.
VIDEO NASTY: Martin O'Neill makes squad sit through a showing of the cup defeat.
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MARTIN O’Neill made his players sit through a video nasty in the hope of finding out where Sunderland are going wrong.

The Sunderland manager and his players – having already lived it in real time – watched a replay of their morale-sapping defeat to Middlesbrough at the Stadium of Light on Tuesday night.

And the Black Cats boss feels the analysis of the team’s crushing Capital One Cup exit at the hands of their local rivals might at least produce some benefit from what was an awful night for the club and its fans.

“We watched it all,” he told the Echo, ahead of tomorrow’s home Premier League clash with Aston Villa.

“We went through it and I hope it proved useful.

“I think there were certain aspects of the game that it was very, very handy to highlight.

“There were things to look at – to analyse important moments in the game and also to look at what we might have done better.”

O’Neill made the sort of changes most fans have been calling for on Tuesday, after weeks of persevering with his preferred starting 11.

Louis Saha was given a start in a side which featured two other strikers – Steven Fletcher and Stephane Sessegnon – the passing skills of David Vaughan were added to the side, Adam Johnson was played on the left-wing and James McClean was rested.

But the changes made no difference to Sunderland’s problems in creating goal chances and O’Neill is the first to concede it is tough going at the moment.

“You could say that we are still searching for the right formula,” he conceded. “And for one reason or another it is just not happening for us at the moment. But it is something we are striving to get right and I know that sooner or late we will.

“Winning games is never easy but we have some very talented players here, players who are more than capable of making and taking goals. It is not an overnight process. It will take time. That was always going to be the case. But we will get it right.”