Premier League

Martin O'Neill calls on Sunderland to improve dismal scoring record

Martin O'Neill: Demanding more bite in front of goal

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Martin O'Neill has warned Sunderland risk getting dragged into a relegation battle unless they improve in front of goal.

Sunderland go to Everton on Saturday as the Premier League's lowest scorers with six goals and, according to some statistics, have managed just 13 shots on target in nine league matches.

That record has left them just four points above the bottom three, and O'Neill does not back midfielder Seb Larsson's assessment that the side is too good to go down.

He said: "We have our own statistician in here and he tells me it depends who you look at. But what doesn't lie is the number of goals that we have scored.

"What we have to do is have more shots at goal regardless of whether I believe or don't believe the stats, and I don't need anyone to tell me that. We are playing reasonably okay but we need to be more incisive.

"The responsibility is mine, but we should be able to have more shots at goal - and I'm not talking about from ridiculous angles but about not spurning opportunities and having the ball in the opposition penalty box more often.

"Only seven or eight teams would have no thoughts other than being in this league next year. Then there is a group of about 12 teams who can never say they are comfortable at all, and we are one of those sides."