“Martin O’Neill is what he is, a mid-table manager”
Martin O’Neill has to be one of the most popular football managers in Britain. Fans of the clubs he manages revere him, while everyone else admires his enthusiasm for the game and his ability to motivate his players. Right? Well, it seems not everyone is completely taken with the Sunderland boss’ qualities, as the Life’s a Pitch team reveals.
“He’s good at taking a club so far, but he can’t take them to the next level,” explains the Daily Mirror’s John Cross. ”He’s set himself high targets and expectations again with the big-money signings of Adam Johnson and Steven Fletcher, who are good players, but I worry about the quality of the rest of the team. I just think that Sunderland will be a mid-table team. And can you justify that after spending well over £20m this summer? I’m not sure you can.”
The Sunday Telegraph’s Jason Burt is equally sceptical of the idea that O’Neill is a top manager. ”I do worry about O’Neill and the money he spends. He spends an awful lot of money, he pays an awful lot of money in wages. I think Fletcher and Johnson will do fine, but he’s paid a big premium for them both. There’s a complete lack of imagination in the transfer market from O’Neill at times. He goes for the tried and tested, the British players. He doesn’t seem to have much of an imagination in terms of scouting abroad, he picks up very few bargains. He’s good at developing certain players, but he often leaves a car crash behind. He is what he is, a mid-table manager.”
An overly harsh assessment, reckons the Mail on Sunday’s Ian Ridley. ”To be fair to him, he had three sixth-place finishes at Villa, which they would happily take now. Jason’s right about not being imaginative in the European market. Against that, the one thing is he makes better players of some very ordinary rag-bag rejects from elsewhere.”
Watch the full video discussion by clicking on the play button in the image above.
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