O'Neill demands strong Sunderland mentality ahead of Chelsea clash

The Black Cats manager believes that playing for the Wearside club is a tough responsibility and is urging his side to show fighting spirit as they aim to improve their dire form
Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill wants to see his players show "a bit of self-confidence" as they aim to turn around their poor form.

The Black Cats host Chelsea on Saturday having failed to record a home victory since March and sit one point above the relegation zone.

O'Neill's side have only one win in their last nine Premier League games and the former Celtic boss believes that a strong mentality is key if they are to turn the corner.

"It takes a strong player to play here for Sunderland at the Stadium of Light. I have often thought that," he told the Sunderland Echo.

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"There are clubs up and down the country where it's tough playing at home. I managed a team up in Scotland for five years where you had to be a really decent player with a strong mentality.

"I think it was the late Tommy Burns who said it was harder to play for Celtic than to play against them. I know exactly what he means.

"Here, it's demanding and you have to have plenty of courage and ability to play here. You have to have a good mentality and a bit of self-confidence.

"And then you need to go and win some football matches and put on a performance. That's very, very important."