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O'Neill: Goals will come

Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill remains confident his side will end their goalscoring struggles.

• Blog: Talking up failure

Sunderland have registered only 13 shots on target in their opening nine Premier League games this season, while summer signing Steven Fletcher is the only player, apart from a Demba Ba own goal, to have scored for O'Neill's team.

But the former Aston Villa boss has seen enough creativity during recent games to suggest that Sunderland have the credentials to end their barren run.

"There were countless times we had one-on-ones with our wingers [against Aston Villa]. We are playing with wingers," O'Neill explained. "We had so many attacking players on the field and I am not even talking about the team that finished, I am talking about the team that started.

"We have attacking players all over the pitch and you would think you would eke out a goal, but the most encouraging thing for me [against Villa] was the number of times we had one-on-ones, and that is what we strive for."

Club captain Lee Cattermole echoed his manager's views, and urged his team-mates to work hard in search of the scoring touch.

"There's no hiding from that," Cattermole said. "I'm not a massive believer in stats, (but) we haven't created enough chances and it is something we are working on.

"We believe in the team we have got. There is real quality in that dressing room to turn this around. Before Saturday we had only got beaten by Man City (in the league) and there is a lot of pressure on the team for not scoring goals.

"We have to keep working hard. The quality will come through in the end. We will stick together and it is as good a dressing room as I have ever been in. We have to win more than we lose this year, but the dressing room is very strong.

Despite their poor form, Cattermole revealed mood in the camp remains high. The former Middlesbrough midfielder believes the quality of the squad will show itself at the Stadium of Light this season.

"People can have disagreements, and it's good we can have a row with each other because we are all in it together. We understand that.

"It is very upbeat in the dressing room. We are disappointed not to have won a game. They are an unbelievable bunch of lads. It is very early in the season. We have top, top footballers here. You are going to see some quality here this season.

"At the minute we are not doing the right stuff. People keep saying Johnno (Adam Johnson) because he is that good a player. He can't do it all of the time. We all have to help each other out. As a team we are absolutely devastated (to lose to Villa)."


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