New Republic of Ireland boss Martin O’Neill has criticised Sunderland chairman Ellis Short’s decision to sack him after a relegation-threatened season. O’Neill was replaced with controversial Italian Paolo di Canio who was sacked after 13 games.

O’Neill has claimed that he would have kept Sunderland in the Premier League if he was not relieved of his duties:

"I was disappointed, of course, at Sunderland, disappointed not to have completed the season.

"I think, really, if I look at it, although nothing is certain in football, that given 20 years of reasonable success in the game, I would have accumulated the five points necessary from the last seven games to have stayed up.

"So yes, I was disappointed because it was a club that I grew up supporting as a boy - not that that makes a great deal of difference in this managerial game.

"But for the opportunity not to be afforded to us to see the job through - I'm quite sure if that had been the case, that I may well have been managing the team right now."

Martin O’Neill was appointed Republic of Ireland boss alongside assistant Roy Keane, replacing Giovanni Trappattoni after a disappointing World Cup qualifying campaign. The Northern Irishman hopes he can inspire the Republic to the finals of more international tournaments.

Despite sharing a good friendship with Sudnerland chairman Ellis Short, O'Neill was sacked after eight Premier League games without a win.

Since replacing Martin O’Neill with Paolo di Canio,the Black Cats have struggled to find consistency or results. Sunderland started slowly this season under Paolo di Canio, who was replaced by the Argentine Gus Poyet. they have managed two wins so far under Poyet, including Sunday’s shock win over Manchester City.

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