MARTIN O’Neill believes the trick to Sunderland regaining confidence is a combination of hard work and sheer bloody-mindedness!
The new Black Cats boss knows he has precious little breathing space in which to revive his new team’s self-belief after taking over last weekend.
The season is currently at a stage where games now come thick and fast and the manager’s job will largely be taken up with preparing his side for one game after another in quick succession.
But O’Neill will still work on getting his new squad playing to its maximum potential in the training sessions ahead.
“I suppose if you could analyse it, there’s two ways of bringing confidence,” he said.
“The first bit is just getting out there on the training pitch, start building it that way, getting the players passing it and controlling it and shooting at goal.
“And then the other aspect of it is getting out there on matchday, and simply seeing a bad patch through and just winning the game.”
O’Neill points to the game Sunderland lost against Arsenal at the Emirates as an example though of how just one or two small things can have a massive knock-on impact.
“I think Arsenal were having a tough time of it a few weeks ago and the late goal they got against Sunderland at the Emirates turned their season around,” he said.
“I say that because I know that a few days later they went to Marseille, built on the Sunderland result and got a last-minute goal. And all of a sudden confidence was restored.
“You’re talking about a very, very good team, in the shape of Arsenal, who were a little short of confidence and that shows you what can be done if you can just work to get one or two things going your way.”
O’Neill says he will find his own ways forward in terms of bringing the best out of his squad but admits that it might be just a case of keeping things uncomplicated.
“Back to basics might be simplistic but if that’s what works, then that’s what works,” he shrugged. “I think you’ve got to focus on things you feel confident on doing.”