O'Neill lauds Campbell
Boss feels striker deserves headlines
Last Updated: February 2, 2012 8:55am
Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill has praised Fraizer Campbell after he scored one and set up another in the Black Cats' 3-0 win over Sunderland.
The former Manchester United youngster has suffered a catalogue of serious injuries in recent years and was making his first league start since August 2010 just three days after scoring as a substitute against Middlesbrough in the FA Cup.
He marked the occasion by scoring a spectacular opening goal after 21 minutes before curling in an inviting cross that Stephane Sessegnon converted for the second seven minutes later.
O'Neill was quick to praise his whole side for an impressive performance but admitted he would not begrudge Campbell the limelight following a tough couple of seasons for the 24-year-old.
He told Sky Sports: "I'm obviously particularly pleased for him, he has had a tough time with serious injury and another setback after that, but he has come back and done magnificently, really brilliantly.
"I'm just delighted for him and everybody around here is and if he hogs the headlines tomorrow then well done to him.
"I've only known him a few weeks but his attitude is fantastic, he has been so, so positive and I think he is magnificent to have around the place.
"Now, obviously his main job is to go and play and he has done that pretty successfully over the past few days. He's got a couple of goals but his overall enthusiasm is terrific - you need more than enthusiasm though and I think his overall play has been fantastic.
"The first goal is very important in this game and he took it magnificently as well as giving the assist for Sessegnon's goal.
"That alone is significant, but his whole demeanour has given everyone a lift"
The win was O'Neill's sixth in nine league games since taking charge in November and sees the Black Cats rise up to eighth in the Premier League - their highest position of the season.
The Irishman could not hide his delight at his players' efforts since his arrival.
"I'm very, very pleased with everybody. They have put their heart and soul into the games but they have done more than that, they have played," he added.
"I thought the pitch was a bit heavy for us and difficult conditions, we tried to play and I thought we did that and scored some fantastic goals.
"Overall just delighted to have won in a game I was very concerned about beforehand."