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Mar 21, 2013

O'Neill is best boss for us, Gardner says

Sunderland midfielder Craig Gardner believes that manager Martin O'Neill is among the best in the game and is convinced he will lead the club out of relegation trouble.

• Blog: Time for leadership

O'Neill enjoyed a fantastic start to life on Wearside, winning seven of his first ten games in charge, but since then has enjoyed just nine victories in 44 attempts. Sunderland are now 15th in the Premier League table, four points above the relegation zone.

However, Gardner - who also worked under O'Neill at Aston Villa - remains convinced the 61-year-old will inspire an improvement in results as the season draws to a close.

"I have worked with the manager for seven or eight years," he told the Journal. "He is one of the best. He is unbelievable. He turns things around at times like this. He is one of the best and we will be fine. We just need to dig deep and we will.

"Martin O'Neill is Martin O'Neill. He knows what to do. He has been in the game longer than I have been alive. He has been through every single situation possible. He knows what to do. We have the best possible person in charge. He will get us out of it."

Gardner said that Sunderland, having not won a game since January 19, owed the fans.

"We need to win a game and we are not asking for the fans to get behind us," he said. "We need to dig deep ourselves and win a game, put one in for the fans. We need to do something for the fans - it's not about the fans getting behind us.

"We have got the club in to this position, so we need to win and get the club out of it. The players will do it for the fans and for the manager. We will do it. It's not about individuals. It's a team game. We need to dig deep for each other."

Gardner also insisted he had no problem with O'Neill's decision to play him at right-back.

"You can put me anywhere," he added. "Seriously. I don't know if I ever thought I'd be playing right-back. If the gaffer asked me to play left-wing next week, I would run up and down, put my body on the line and give 120%. I like the sound of left wing. Can we have that?"

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