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The Black Cats have won just once this season and have scored only six goals, but the Northern Irishman prefers to concentrate on the fact his side have lost one game

Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill insists he is remaining calm about his side's indifferent start to the new Premier League campaign.

The Black Cats have won just one game so far this season and have scored less goals than any of their top-flight rivals, having netted six times.

But the Northern Irishman says he is focusing on the positives, such as the fact that the Mackems have lost only once.

“So far in the league we have drawn a lot of games and I accept that,” he told the club's official website.

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“We haven’t scored the number of goals I was hoping we would have done at this stage, and I also accept that.

“But the only game we have lost in the league is to the team who won it last season and are now playing Champions League football.

“I didn’t get overly excited last year by some of the results we got and I certainly wouldn’t be getting too down now. It’s a long, long season and I know that through my experiences.”

However, the 60-year-old did concede that fans should be allowed to voice their unhappiness with recent showings from his side.

“At this moment I think we’re entitled to be disappointed with our performances and I think the crowd are entitled to voice their disapproval," he added.

“The fact is we didn’t create many chances in the game [on Tuesday].

“We have to rectify that on Saturday in what is a very big game, even at this stage of the season. Having said that I consider all 38 league fixtures to be big games.”

The former Aston Villa boss is taking comfort from the fact that the Wearsiders have defended impressively so far this term, though.

“I think if Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal went to Stoke and got a draw, they’d be pretty pleased with it,” he explained.

“But we didn’t cause them many problems, even on the break, and that’s become part and parcel of our game.

“What we want to do now is become more of a threat. We’re more or less solid defensively, although that can change at any given minute.

“Manchester City put three goals past us and it could have been more in the last 15 minutes. But we’re not in Manchester City’s league at the moment.

"The teams we’re competing against are the ones we’re going to have to try and beat.”

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