Martin’s Musings: making our own luck to beat Blackburn


Martin O’Neill, in his first managerial Musings after a Sunderland match, rightly applauds a second half showing full of endeavour, persistence and – finally – the goals to go with those qualities. It was his deployment of Steve Bruce’s players that eventually won the game, and we were fortunate with a couple of decisions, but let us not quarrel with what ended up being the right kind of start …

Dear Colin,

I thought the players were fantastic today, for this reason and this reason alone, we were a goal behind for most of the game and then suddenly, just as you might be thinking to yourself it’s the same old story, came the second-half performance.

We kept playing and playing, as we know ourselves we’ve had a problem scoring goals and it looked as if that was going to be the case again with all of the possession that we had.

But we came up trumps.

David Vaughan’s goal was just fantastic and funnily enough I’ve just said to Seb [Larsson] I fancied him to score a free kick.

It was a really great win considering the pressure the players have been under. I’m delighted for them.

It was a phenomenal effort and the crowd got behind the team – the players mentioned in the dressing room and how much of a good feeling that was – and it was terrific!

It looked as if we might not get the goal. I’m sure the crowd were getting anxious and feeling that.

Then Vaughan comes up with a sensational goal and the whole place lifted – the extra surge that the crowd gave us at the end, I think, helped force in that second goal.

It was a great goal from Larsson; the shot was very difficult but I could just sense a bit of confidence about him when he stepped up to do it. Just brilliant.

There’s nothing restores confidence more quickly than winning games and you may say we got a little bit of luck with getting that very, very late goal – but we deserved it.

We deserved to win today. I don’t think there’s any question about that, we came from behind to win the game – I couldn’t have asked for any more.

Thanks for your support.

All the best,

Martin O’Neill

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10 thoughts on “Martin’s Musings: making our own luck to beat Blackburn”

  1. Buying a goalscorer , as we all know,will not be an easy task but I agree that we do need another Darren Bent or SKP, as do most teams.Not sure who we will get. I would go for somebody like Andrew Johnson who can play off Bendtner or Ji, when he evenually finds his feet in the EPL. This would also give us more time to develop young Noble. Also, what about Touknare? He seems to get his fair share of goals for the reserves,

    For me a solid left back is also a neccessity. This would also have the benefit of allowing Richardson to play more in left midfield and Bardsley to move over to right back and O’Shea into the middle. Stephen Warnock or Wayne Bridge would do nicely although I doubt either would be interested. Is Blair Adams ready for the Ist team yet?

  2. I couldn’t possibly agree more Vince. Interesting comments from McClean who has described O’Neill as a breath of fresh air.

    Larsson’s dead ball kicking has done much the same for this team as Darren Bent’s goals were, a year or so ago. A reliable source regardless of the broader performance. It’s an excellent return for a midfielder at this stage of the season and something we’ve not had since Don Hutchison a decade or more ago.

    There’s an awful lot riding on whatever MON can do in the Jan window which is thankfully pretty close. My feelings about this are that MON has had a bit of time to assess what he’s got to work with but I still wish that Bruce had been sent packing about three or four weeks ago when we had a decent run of ‘winnable games,” none of which we won. Had MON been installed ahead of say the Fulham game I think we’d have been in a healthier position in the league with less fear of going into fixtures away at Spurs, QPR and at home to Everton.

  3. Only thing I’d query is how O’Neill saw Larsson’s goal.In my view it had nothing to do with “luck” or a renewed confidence from the previous goal.

    Larsson can score from any free kick around the box and had been doing just that all season(though we won’t mention that penalty).

    In Larsson we have a quality free kick taker who we can always believe in regardless of what else is going on around him or how badly we are playing.O’Neill should maybe give the lad wee bit more credit.

    .A small criticism I know…but isnt it brilliant to have nothing else to whinge about.

  4. You only had to take a glimpse at the body language and panic in Bruce’s face When players turn to their manager to inspire confidence, looking at Bruce just told them “Aye we’re beat again!”

    I very much appreciate O’Neill’s tone and comments which are positive although guarded. His decision to put on James McClean for his debut in the circumstances was a good one. He couldn’t really go wrong because the game was lost at that point. Bruce wouldn’t have done that, just stood there looking glum. He’d have probably taken Vaughan off and put Fabelmo on.

  5. I agree Jeremy, the lack of a goalscorer has been a critical factor in terms of the team’s equilibrium. I also think that Bruce was unable to instill confidence, as he himself seemed to panic when things went wrong .

    I would hope that O’Neill’s considered and professional approach to his role will result in raising levels of confidence amongst the squad. He has a natural authority, something that Bruce didnt have, and his solidity and experience must inevitably steady the player’s nerves. He inspires respect and confidence. That combined with the aquisition of a good striker (or 2) will hopefully have us moving forward in a consistent way.

  6. I agree Hilary. Confidence has been a problem both in terms of gaining and losing it. We’ve seen this before on several occasions. The “confidence” within this team is such a brittle thing. It can be lost by conceding a goal, or gained immediately when we score one. It comes flooding back. The problem ultimately comes from the difficulty we’ve experienced in getting goals. The team know they are in short supply and the sinking feeling they experience is obvious when we concede. There is no belief that they can get a goal back. The answer is simple; sign a goalscorer.

    Leaving Elmo out is also a good start of course.

  7. I’m not sure if I agree with you Keith about playing like that most games; We played with much more positivity and passion yesterday than we have this season, we got far more bodies in the box than normal, even if Blackburn helped us by sitting back. The fans and players were reunited, and we got our just reward for it. I agree with Hilary about the booing mind, I was a bit surprised by it. Still, far more positives than negatives.

  8. I think Martin got his tone exactly right in his post match interview. The players are obviously low in confidence and he was encouraging and supportive, unlike those supporters who booed at half time. The man has just arrived, he is respectful and obviously committed, the fans should show respect and a little patience.

  9. Great win after a long and at times miserable Autumn. We have played like this in most games without winning but there just seemed to be something different yesterday. Despite what Blackburn fans say they don’t play bad football seem very committed and in Samba have a tremendous centre back. We can now look forward and get out of this mess but a top quality goalscorer is needed, Bentdner nor Whickham fit the bill. The winter of discontent is nor upon us and lets just hope it is a happy spring well done to Martin and the lads

  10. Blackburn were negative in the 2nd half especially.
    I thought we did make our own luck. McClean looked very useful coming on. His first touch of the ball and subsequent cross were excellent. I think he’ll give 100% and has energy.
    I think I might have plumped for Nobel instead of Ji, but MON knows what he’s doing. Ji is an experienced international. I just don’t think he’s premiership-ready yet. But, that will come.
    Wickham looked OK despite only two days light training in 4 weeks. Vaughn should stay in that position!
    And, what would we do without Larsson this season?
    Keep up the good work!!!

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