Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill has called on patience from supporters

Martin O'Neill: Wants fans to give him more time at the Stadium of Light

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Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill has called on patience from the club's supporters following their mediocre start to the Premier League season.

The Northern Irishman succeeded the sacked Steve Bruce last December, but despite making a number of changes to his squad, O'Neill is now feeling the pressure at the Stadium of Light.

The out-of-form Black Cats have over-relied on the goals of striker Steven Fletcher, while they have won just once in 16 Premier League games heading into their clash against Aston Villa.

But O'Neill believes the fans need to give him more time to build a team which can compete with the big teams.

He said: "Eventually, over a period of time, I'd like to build a team capable of competing at the top level. But I don't care who you are - you could be Sir Alex Ferguson - it'll not happen overnight.

"People can say what they want, but I'd expect to be judged over a season. It's where we are at the end of it in May that matters."

Martin O'Neill

"People can say what they want, but I'd expect to be judged over a season. It's where we are at the end of it in May that matters.

"The only way I can change things is by winning some football matches. We've drawn a lot of matches and it's real doom and gloom but sorry, I'm not going with that.

"And that's not a matter of me just being stubborn for the sake of it. It's a (full) season myself and the team should be judged on, not a group of games."