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Apr 5, 2013

O'Neill: I deserved more time

Martin O'Neill has told BBC Radio 5 live he did not deserve to be sacked by Sunderland, and feels he should have been given more time at the club.

• Blog: Can PDC make his point?
• Premier League Spotlight

Speaking for the first time since being dismissed last Saturday, the Northern Irishman revealed he was "disappointed" and "frustrated" about the sacking. Former Swindon Town boss Paolo Di Canio replaced O'Neill just 24 hours after his exit.

O'Neill took charge at the Stadium of Light at the backend of 2011. He steered Sunderland to a solid 13th-place finish in his first season, but the current campaign did not pan out for the 61-year-old, as his boyhood club sit just one point above the relegation zone following a 1-0 defeat to Manchester United.

"I'm in the business now where I think very little shocks you about professional football, particularly in the last ten years," O'Neill told BBC Radio 5 live. "I think you can nearly lose your job in management if your tie doesn't fit your suit.

"Coming into the football club at the time when the club was on its knees, and I believe I saved the club from relegation last year, I felt the opportunity [to stay at the club] should have still been afforded to me."

Sunderland brought in Di Canio - someone with no experience of managing in the top flight - hoping the Italian can turn the club's fortunes around with seven games remaining. His start at Sunderland is set to be a tough one, as they face consecutive away games against Chelsea and Newcastle.

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