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O'Neill delighted for Campbell
Published : 02 Feb 2012 07:16:51
Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill was thrilled to see Fraizer Campbell continue his comeback in style as he sent Norwich on the road to a 3-0 defeat.
The 24-year-old scored on his return from a lengthy injury absence in Sunday's 1-1 FA Cup fourth round draw with Middlesbrough, and repeated the feat in spectacular style as the Canaries were sent packing.
O'Neill said: "There were a lot of dark days - 18 months is a long, long time out of the game, particularly when you are still very young, and I shouldn't really be surprised about his attitude, which I am not. But to score two goals, he has given us a big, big lift at an important time."
He added: "I am delighted for him, really. You just see him in the dressing room with that big smile of his. But it's more than that, it's more than just his enthusiasm. He played splendidly for us tonight, got a great goal, had a great say in the second one too, put in a great cross. But just his overall attitude was terrific, his overall performance was brilliant."
Norwich simply could not live with Sunderland, who took the lead in spectacular style with 21 minutes gone. Full-back Russell Martin managed to dispossess James McClean as he cut inside him, but the ball ran to Campbell, who smashed a dipping volley over keeper John Ruddy and into the top corner.
It was 2-0 within seven minutes after Stephane Sessegnon started an attack by pushing the ball through Bradley Johnson's legs and playing a pass out to Campbell, and then finished it by heading the striker's cross home.
The victory was wrapped up nine minutes after the restart when Phil Bardsley's drilled cross found its way into the back of the net with the help of deflections off defender Daniel Ayala and Ruddy.
Norwich boss Paul Lambert conceded that his side had been well-beaten on the night, but backed them to respond against Bolton on Saturday. He said: "We were beaten by the better side on the night, so no, I have no complaints. I just think we were second best and when you are second best, normally that's what you get.
"But there are not too may times I have ever said that about the team. They have done remarkably well to get themselves into this position they are in, so I am not going to be over-critical of them because they have given us everything. Hopefully, we will re-group and go again on Saturday, but on this given night, we were beaten by the better side."
Meanwhile, Lambert revealed he had rejected Rangers' deadline day offer for skipper Grant Holt because it had not come close to his valuation. He said: "The valuation I have of Grant and the money Rangers offered was nowhere near."