Nottingham Forest appoint club legend O'Neill as new manager

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The former Republic of Ireland manager has returned to the City Ground to take over the club he won two European Cups with as a player

Nottingham Forest have appointed club legend Martin O'Neill as their new manager.

O'Neill replaces Aitor Karanka, who left the club last Friday, and will be tasked with leading Forest into the Championship play-offs.

As a player O'Neill won the European Cup twice with Forest, also winning the First Division and European Super Cup as well as the League Cup on two occasions.

Forest are ninth in the table, four points adrift of arch rivals Derby County, who occupy the final play-off place in sixth.

O'Neill has enjoyed managerial spells with Leicester City, Celtic, Aston Villa and Sunderland in his career, and left his post as Republic of Ireland manager after five years in the job in November.

The Republic reached the last 16 of Euro 2016 under his leadership but a failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup and UEFA Nations League relegation led to his departure.

The Northern Irishman enjoyed a hugely successful playing career which included 371 appearances and 62 goals during a 10-year-spell at the City Ground, much of it under Brian Clough.

He also starred for Norwich City, Manchester City and Notts County and was a regular in the Northern Ireland squad, captaining his country at the 1982 World Cup in Spain.

Premier League winner Chris Sutton has defended his former Celtic manager’s style of football, countering claims he is a “dinosaur”.

Sutton, who won the Premier League with Blackburn and played under the 66-year-old O’Neill at Celtic, says he was the target of unfair criticism during his time in charge of the Republic.

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“He was a realist. He set them up not to get beat,” Sutton told 5 live’s Monday Night Club.

“I am not having all this that O’Neill is a dinosaur and the players did not know their jobs."

His first match as Forest boss sees them host Bristol City at the City Ground on Saturday.