Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill hopes history can repeat itself against Manchester City

Martin O'Neill: Hoping history repeats itself when they face Manchester City

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Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill is hopeful his side can emulate last season's success against Manchester City when they face them at the Stadium of Light on Boxing Day.

An injury-time goal from substitute Ji Dong-won on New Year's Day this year gave O'Neill's injury-hit side a 1-0 victory and he is keen to build on Saturday's victory at Southampton with another positive result.

"It was a terrific win. There was a lot of character shown that day," said O'Neill.

"I know these are over-used words in the game, but that was very important for us because Manchester City at any given stage in that match, or in any game, can rip you apart.

"We conjured it from somewhere. Ji's goal was greeted with an enormous roar, which I shan't forget, and for us to win on the opening day of the calendar year gave us a big boost."

Steven Fletcher scored the only goal in Saturday's winner over the Saints and O'Neill was keen to praise the Scotsman, with Sunderland having never failed to pick up a point when Fletcher has scored for them.

"He has scored important goals. I am not so sure he has scored an unimportant goal for us - every goal we get is important," added O'Neill.

"I have to say it's not that often that we are winning by three or four goals. His contribution has been fantastic so far."

O'Neill also dismissed any suggestions his players should receive sympathy for having to train on Christmas Day, insisting they are lucky to enjoy such privileged lives.

"It's the most phenomenal life you could get, particularly if you have a couple of years where you can be successful," said O'Neill.

"I was lucky enough to be involved in a Nottingham Forest team which ruled Europe for a couple of years, so that was really fantastic. But any professional player has got to really enjoy it.

"You are being paid to keep yourself healthy and fit and if you don't have any major serious injuries, which are obviously more than a bit of a setback and terrible to endure, then it's a great career."

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