O’Neill key to Cuellar’s Sunderland move

NEW FACE ... Sunderland's Carlos Cuellar.
NEW FACE ... Sunderland's Carlos Cuellar.
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CARLOS Cuellar admits the prospect of a reunion with Martin O’Neill was key to him joining Sunderland.

There was plenty of interest in Cuellar following the conclusion of his Aston Villa stint, with Seville and Malaga both keen to take the Spaniard back to his homeland.

But Cuellar was eager to remain in the Premier League and jumped at the chance to work under O’Neill for a second spell after the Sunderland boss spent almost £8million to take the defender to Villa Park in 2008.

“Ever since I heard the rumour that Sunderland were interested in signing me, I wanted to come here,” Cuellar told safc.com.

“To work again with the gaffer Martin O’Neill and with everyone talking so well about the club, I didn’t have any problem and said straight away I wanted to come.

“He is so clever, he knows everyone very well and knows how to push everyone to get 100 per cent out of them.

“He gets the best from every player and brings them together to make his teams very competitive.

“He did so well at Villa. I know how hard he works and what he can do with his teams.

“The manager is one of the best. He knows me and I know him. Everything is easy.

“I have been happy working with him before and I wanted to do that again.”

Cuellar made 94 Premier League appearances for Villa, predominantly in his favoured position of central defence, although O’Neill also used him as a right-back.

“I am very excited and want to start straight away,” he added.

“I am the happiest man to be here, to work and try to show my skills and quality.

“I think we are going to be a hard team to beat. We have good players with quality and can play face-to-face against everyone in the league.”