Cattermole hails O'Neill impact
Sunderland captain Lee Cattermole is convinced that Martin O'Neill has already made him and many of his team-mates better players.
Cattermole can't speak highly enough of his manager, who inherited a squad which the midfielder believes was at a crossroads at the time of Steve Bruce's sacking last November. Bruce was shown the door by the Black Cats after picking up just 11 points from their opening 13 Premier League games of the season. However, any fears of relegation were quickly forgotten about following O'Neill's appointment at the start of December as he led his new chargers on a run of results which saw them leap into the top ten. Cattermole told the club's official website: "Martin brought a massive lift to the place and if you look at the results after he took over it showed what an impact he had. "He gave all the lads the confidence boost they needed and the fans got right behind us. With that we went from strength to strength." Eventually they did fall away and ended up in 13th place, but the midfield hardman is certain in time, the former Aston Villa boss will create a team that the Sunderland fans can be proud of. He added: "The manager is very focused and pinpoint on certain things and his man-management is excellent. "He has definitely helped me as a player - he just expects and demands a certain performance level. "Martin came in halfway through the season and this isn't really his team. "I'm sure that with a full pre-season under our belts we will be a lot more aggressive and positive."