O'Neill: Cats need time to settle
Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill admits only time will tell if his summer overhaul has worked. The Ulsterman, whose side host Liverpool on Saturday evening, cleared the decks at the Stadium of Light during the closed season, allowing the likes of Craig Gordon, George McCartney, Michael Turner, Kieran Richardson and Asamoah Gyan, as well as a host of fringe players, to leave the club. In return, he was allowed to invest heavily in England winger Adam Johnson and Scottish striker Steven Fletcher, as well as snapping up the experience of Carlos Cuellar and Louis Saha. However, while confident he has done good business, O'Neill acknowledges he will not know for sure until the season is well under way if his squad is good enough in terms of both quality and numbers with the transfer window not re-opening until January. He said: "Like everything, time will tell. We have added a couple of very good players, I think, to the football club; we have also lost one or two as well. "It's a long period of time to go, four months, particularly like ourselves and a number of other clubs. "Maybe you are concerned about the size of the squad and if there was another window in, let's say, two months' time you wouldn't have a problem with it, but it is a long period of time. "It is exciting. We want to try to not only bring the public in, we have got to try to keep them if that's the case, and the best way to do that is win some football games and try to play some decent football." The Black Cats have endured something of a stop-start opening to the new campaign, having been denied the chance to build upon their creditable opening day draw at Arsenal when their first home fixture against Reading was washed out by torrential rain. Progress in the Capital One Cup was followed by another hard-earned Barclays Premier League point at Swansea, but then the break for international matches once again interrupted their attempts to establish a momentum. O'Neill said: "Yes, and then in a couple of weeks' time, there's another international break, so you don't get any real proper feeling about the league for about eight, nine, 10 games. "That doesn't mean you haven't to be fighting the whole way - every single point for us is vital, particularly at this stage of the season. "But it has been like that and it feels like that and in fairness, it's felt like that for the last couple of years. "You have had the September international break, then you've one in October time and actually, there's a week in November for an international game. "They are finally doing something about the friendly matches, which is really good news and maybe giving a bit more time to club affairs."
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