Cuellar hails O'Neill

Former Aston Villa defender looks forward to a good season

Carlos Cuellar: Sunderland defender full of admiration for Villa gaffer

Sunderland's new defender Carlos Cuellar has revealed the opportunity to work with Martin O'Neill again was too great to resist.

The Spaniard first worked with O'Neill at Aston Villa after he was recruited from Rangers for a fee of £7.8million.

Cuellar's contract expired with the Midlands outfit this summer which coincided with O'Neill's search for a commanding defender for his Sunderland side.

Once approached about whether he wanted to resume their old working relationship, Cuellar admits there was only ever going to be one answer.

Communication

He said: "Because he was a player, he knows what you're thinking every moment, what you need every moment and he is very good at reading how you are feeling.

"He gives you everything you need to make sure you give him everything back. There is good communication and that makes it easy."

O'Neill arrived at the Stadium of Light last December, with Sunderland in real danger of slipping into an unseemly scrap for Premier League survival.

The initial recovery he inspired was little short of spectacular and, although results slid as injuries hit hard towards the end of the campaign, they comfortably retained their top-flight status.

Cuellar added: "He has always had a good season wherever he has been. The way he trains and the way you play with him.

"It's enjoyable but there is pressure too with him. He gives you a lot of confidence and you are allowed to do everything you want with your skills and the way you play but there is a responsibility on you to work hard."