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Sep 24, 2012

O'Neill disappointed with late goals

Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill has revealed he is keen to rectify his side's habit of conceding late goals.

Saturday's 1-1 draw with West Ham saw Sunderland give up a lead for the third consecutive game, after Kevin Nolan's goal deep into injury time pegged back the Black Cats.

While O'Neill is unwilling to rule out further late drama, he is hoping the goals will go for his team instead of against them in future.

"We've almost seen the game through and to concede as we did that was just disappointing," he told the Journal. "We'll try and rectify that if we can. I'm not going to say it's the last time we'll concede a goal in the last five minutes this season - I'm sure it won't be.

"However, I'm hoping we might win a game in the last five minutes to make up for it. That's four games we've played now and in each of the games in the last 20 minutes we've been under pressure."

O'Neill did credit his side's ability to deal with the majority of West Ham's pressure but admitted that his side need to improve their ball retention.

"We have to try and find a way of keeping the ball a little bit better than we are," he said. "On Saturday we knew we were going to be put under that sort of pressure, but the disappointing thing for me was that for most of it we dealt with it manfully and pretty well.

"I thought on the break - and I accept they were on the break - we had really decent chances to put the game beyond them, but were unable to take them. If we'd held on I'd be jumping through hoops telling you how brilliant we are."

Meanwhile, trialist James McFadden is set to discover where his future lies after O'Neill confirmed a decision on the striker is likely to be made by the end of the week.

McFadden, 29, has been training with the Black Cats following his release from Everton at the end of last season, with his agent confirming his desire to join the club last week.

"He's trained for a week with us and done fine," O'Neill told the Sunderland Echo. "We'll have to see what happens. We'll probably make a decision by the end of the week."

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