Martin O'Neill vows to solve Sunderland's goalscoring problems

Media playback is not supported on this device

O'Neill raring to go

New Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill says his priority is to end his side's goal drought as he prepares for his first game in charge.

The Black Cats host fellow strugglers Blackburn on Sunday having netted only twice in their last four games.

"We have to address the goalscoring situation," said O'Neill.

"The backroom staff have been telling me that we have been creating chances in games but have been unable to put them away."

O'Neill, who watched Sunderland's 2-1 defeat at Wolves from the stands at the weekend, is delighted to be back in management 16 months after leaving Aston Villa - and he is anticipating a scrap for points against Rovers.

"I'm expecting a real physical battle," the 59-year-old said. "We have to withstand the sort of pressure we know we're going to be put under.

"Our job is to cause them as many problems as possible and galvanise ourselves, and in so doing get the crowd behind us.

"It is a really important game for both teams - at this stage of the season I suppose you could say the proverbial six-pointer.

"The league is so unforgiving. You can't afford to keep losing matches and that is something we have to address."

Blackburn travel to the Stadium of Light on the back of an emphatic 4-2 win against Swansea on Saturday.

"Blackburn have been playing pretty well and haven't had the results to go with it," O'Neill added.

"It was a great win for them last week and now they're on a run, so they'll come here with plenty of confidence."

Blackburn lie just one place and one point behind Sunderland.

And O'Neill said circumstances may lead to a new-look Black Cats side taking the field against Steve Kean's men.

"In the normal course of events you wouldn't want to be experimenting, with the games coming up thick and fast, but with injuries and suspensions we're probably going to have to use a few [different] players," he added.

Top Stories