Martin O'Neill says strikers must deliver for Sunderland

 

Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill has urged his marksmen to take on the responsibility of firing the club out of trouble.

The Black Cats head for QPR tomorrow night having won only three of their 16 Barclays Premier League games to date and scored just 18 goals in the process.

The fact that they have conceded only 19 and have the best goal difference of the bottom nine clubs in the table is a consolation, but O'Neill admits the lack of firepower is piling the pressure on his defenders, with loan signing Nicklas Bendtner having not found the net in six games.

O'Neill said: "It would be fantastic if we possessed somebody who could score 20 goals a season, that would be terrific.

"If it doesn't happen, then you have really got to share them around, and you have got to get players into the penalty area to score, generally speaking.

"Of course, we have one or two players who can score goals from outside the box, but eventually when the ball goes in, you have to have people in, and that's what we will be trying to encourage, players getting into the penalty area to try to score.

"In the penalty area, you have got to be a bit selfish if there's a shot on. Don't try something ridiculous, just throwing a leg at it or something like that, but you have got to take a bit of responsibility."

Sunderland's last victory, a 2-1 home success over Blackburn in O'Neill's first game as manager, came courtesy of stunning long-range strikes from David Vaughan and Sebastian Larsson.

However, that was one of only five occasions this season on which they have scored more than once in a game.

And O'Neill knows that must improve if Sunderland are to drag themselves away from the 16th position they currently occupy, just a point clear of the drop zone.

He said: "Anyone can see we have had a problem scoring goals. We have had a problem in actually getting in front in matches and actually winning games, that's it.

"You can't keep relying on us keeping teams out, because whoever you are playing there will be chances at one end of the field.

"At this minute, our goal difference, considering the position in which we find ourselves in the league, is actually remarkably good, but it might suggest there is a lot of pressure on us to hold out in games.

"We just need to score a few more goals, that is pretty plain. If we can get a couple of goals, of course, it alleviates problems further back.

"We are where we are in the league and you would say we don't score enough goals, that's pretty plain."

QPR are in a similar run of form having won just one of the seven league games they have played since their shock 1-0 victory over Chelsea on October 23.

They are one place and two points better off than tomorrow night's visitors, but have scored only six goals at Loftus Road all season.

However, having seen their most recent game, a 2-0 home defeat by Manchester United at the weekend, O'Neill knows his side will be in for a battle.

He said: "You only have to listen to Sir Alex Ferguson speaking after the game against Queens Park Rangers - until they got the second goal, the game was on a knife-edge.

"Even though they might have had a couple of chances themselves, Queens Park Rangers were never out of the game, caused plenty of problems to them and if you are getting the likes of Manchester United having problems caused to them by Queens Park Rangers, then we can expect the same."

Striker Connor Wickham is a doubt with a knee problem, but O'Neill is hopeful that defenders Phil Bardsley and Wes Brown will shake off knocks.

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence