"You need the points, it really is as simple as that. We haven't got enough points on the board at the minute and we have to rectify that."
O'Neill will have been in charge for a year this week and he masterminded some impressive results to steer the Stadium of Light club away from relegation after taking over from Steve Bruce last season.
"Our position in the league, with a couple of teams all tight together, would suggest we are in a fight," added O'Neill.
"It is a battle for us and we have to pull through - it was a battle last year and so I'm hoping the experience they have will stand them in good stead this season."
Norwich looked comfortable after Sebastien Bassong and Anthony Pilkington put them 2-0 up.
Craig Gardner pulled one back for the Black Cats and they piled on the pressure in the second half but failed to take their chances.
"To dominate the way we did in the second half is encouraging," said O'Neill.
"I said to the players at the end that if we perform like we did in the second half we will be fine. We are certainly not good enough to gift goals to teams and be able to turn that around. The top sides are able to do that but we are certainly not a top side."