Martin O'Neill urges Stephane Sessegnon to transform himself from provider to goalscorer

 

Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill has urged Stephane Sessegnon to transform himself from provider to goalscorer.

The Benin international went some way towards shaking off his early-season lethargy with a stunning strike in Sunday's 3-1 Barclays Premier League victory at Fulham, just the Black Cats' second three-point haul in 19 attempts.

Sessegnon, a £6million signing from Paris St Germain in January 2011, has looked a shadow of the player he was for much of the last campaign, with O'Neill having admitted in the past that speculation that he could move away from Wearside during the summer might have turned his head.

However, the 28-year-old, who signed a new contract in August to end the rumours, showed flashes of his talent at Craven Cottage, and O'Neill is hoping his return to form will pay dividends.

He said: "He is capable of scoring more goals than he does and he himself, with that ability he possesses, should be really looking at double figures per season.

"While he sometimes maybe thinks that he is more of an assist player, I think he should be able to do some of the things that he conjured up on Sunday against Fulham."

Until Sunday, Sunderland had relied largely on £14million summer arrival Steven Fletcher to find the back of the net - indeed, until Adam Johnson struck at Everton two weeks ago, he was the only Black Cat to have registered in the Premier League this season with Newcastle's Demba Ba, whose own goal ensured a derby draw at the Stadium of Light on October 21, in second place.

The Scotland international struck five times in his first four league appearances for the club, and a run of five games without a goal coincided with their slide towards the lower reaches of the table.

But he ended his personal drought in style with a well-taken opener at Fulham, and while O'Neill was delighted to see him do so, he revealed he was happy with his frontman's form even when he was not scoring.

The Ulsterman, whose side entertain high-flying West Brom this weekend, said: "He probably will always be judged on goals as a centre-forward, that will be the first thing they would do.

"The goals he has scored for us have been very, very important, every one of them, and the goal he scored on Sunday was brilliantly taken.

"But his overall play was excellent for us and even during that time where maybe he didn't score a goal, he still led the line brilliantly.

"We need to create more chances for him, we just need to do that, to keep his goal ratio in reasonable condition. We have to do that.

"Having said that, it was also pleasing that we scored from a few other people during the course of the game, and that obviously helps confidence.

"But Fletcher has been terrific."

Fletcher's latest goal came courtesy of an inch-perfect pass from England midfielder Johnson, who continued his improvement after an impressive display at Goodison Park.

The former Manchester City man was O'Neill's other big-money buy during the summer, but a thigh injury interrupted his efforts to establish himself on Wearside as his best form eluded him.

However, the 25-year-old, like Sessegnon, has shown signs of emerging from his shell, and his manager is now anticipating big things.

O'Neill said: "He's getting a little bit of form together, which is very, very important for us and important for him as well.

"He's got the ability, we all realise that, it's just a matter of letting it come to the fore."

PA

News
news

Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'

News
people

Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'

Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling is releasing a new Harry Potter story about Dolores Umbridge
arts + entsJK Rowling to publish new story set in wizard's world for Halloween
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites those Star Wars rumours
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
people

Thought you'd seen it all after the Jeremy Paxman interview?

Arts and Entertainment
On The Apprentice, “serious” left the room many moons ago and yet still we watch
tv

Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent

News
i100
Life and Style
tech

Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into conflicts
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from David Ayer's 'Fury'
film

"History is violent," says the US Army tank commander Don "Wardaddy" Collier

Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker