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O'Shea On Totalsport - BBC Newcastle Phone In Review

Sunderland captain John O'Shea was in the BBC Newcastle Totalsport studio last night answering questions from the fans and former player Marco Gabbiadini. You can listen to the show in full here. Just in case you missed it, or can't be bothered to listen, @GHSAFC91 has kindly reviewed the main points for you below.

Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

On a disappointing start to the season:

We wanted to get off to a positive start to the season. We started the game quite well – we could go one-nil up after five minutes and then unfortunately we conceded a few goals. In the second half (there was) a small bit of improvement. We’re looking to this weekend – Norwich lost their first game too. We’ll have a full house at the stadium of light and hopefully we’ll have a good reaction.

A caller suggested that O’Shea would be put straight into the team on Saturday by the manager. O’Shea responded:

The boys (Kaboul and Coates) need time. They haven’t had that much football. We’ll bounce back, that’s for sure. The reaction in training this week has been very positive. We wanted to start the season better, don’t get me wrong. Hopefully we’ll make up for that on Saturday against Norwich. Younes will go from strength to strength. He’s building back up his fitness – he’s come in and hasn’t played much recently.

On lack of communication from the players in the Leicester game:

It was frustrating. Communiction is key everywhere on the pitch. It’s something we’re looking to improve on, starting this Saturday.

On the positives we can take from the Leicester game being the two goals and the hard work which led to us converting two chances:

When Fletch goes up for those type of headers, you’re expecting him to win them and then when Jermain Defoe is in front of goal, in those positions, generally you’re going to see the back of the net rattle. The more that we can do that, the more joy we’re going to have this season.

On the importance of the fans:

I’ve always stressed how important the fans are. Down at Leicester there was constant singing – they were trying to get the lads going. When it went 3-1 I thought we probably had our best spell for about five or ten minutes - it looked as if Leicester were a little bit rattled. Then they got the fourth, which was frustrating. I’m sure on Saturday we’ll give the fans plenty to shout about.

What is a realistic target for Sunderland this season?

To improve on last season – that, obviously, has to be your target. Also, we need to make sure we aren’t going into the last couple of games (needing to survive). There’s still obviously a couple of weeks to go in the transfer window, so obviously in a couple of weeks we’ll know the full depth of our squad. We lost Adam (Johnson) the other day for a good few weeks now – but, you’re going to get things like that. Hopefully with a few new additions we can have the competition in the squad that the manager spoke about.

He (Dick Advocaat) wants to attack, he wants to go at teams. When he makes changes he doesn’t worry about the other team, he makes them to ensure we can perhaps go forward and score goals. I think that, definitely, will see us win more games than we draw.

Why do Sunderland have difficulty attracting quality players to the football club?

Well, when I see we signed Jeremain Lens, I’m looking at a quality footballer. I know you might see stories in the paper where there’s been a player mentioned, but Sunderland might never have been in for him. His agent might have used the fact Sunderland were in for him to get extra money out of the buying club in London or Manchester. Sunderland CAN attract quality players – I understand what you’re saying, it might look like that from the outside, but Sunderland can attract quality players.

On Fabio Borini coming back to Sunderland:

He got on fantastically when he got on at the club. Let’s wait and see.

Fabio went back to Liverpool and, in his head, he was going to break in there and make an impact, and that’s the type of positive lad he is. Like I say, let’s wait and see – we don’t know if it’s just Skysports speculation or not.

On our image to potential signings and what it means in terms of bringing in quality players:

Like I said before you look at Jeramain Lens and Jermain Defoe – both quality players we’ve brought into the club recently. It’s up for interpretation. The club is ran very well and, in terms of the wage structure and different things, it’s a key factor in what you can bring in.

On the team – largely, the same players – being so inconsistent under so many managers, being poor for large spells followed by spurts at the end of the season which see us stay up:

First and foremost the players have to take responsibility. You train hard all week – believe me, no player wants to go out on the pitch and play badly.

On perhaps entering management when his career is finished:

Yes, it’s something I’d like to give a go but the time involved makes it difficult with me having two young kids. I have my A license now so, if I do choose to do it, I’ll be prepared to go that route.

On playing in big derby games throughout his career, and how the Wear-Tyne derby compares:

It’s right up there. Even the referees love them – that tells you how fantastic they are. I dunno about Sunderland fans but I’d rather be finishing much higher up the table (than winning derby games all of the time).

On consistently struggling, despite the players telling us we’re going to improve year on year:

The premier league is a very competitive league. The quality of the squads and the players that are signing now, with the wages that are being paid – it’s so, so competitive. And yes, the last few seasons have been tough in particular, but it’s one of them. It’s the Premier League, it’s very competitive, and we’ve managed to stay in it for so long and we’re looking to improve. I understand you’re frustration – believe me, I’ve been frustrated as well – and you want to have a much more enjoyable season. Hopefully we can this season.

On seeing the support away from home and what impact it has on the players:

I think back to that night at Old Trafford. There were a few more Sunderland fans than normal because it was a cup game. That will long live in my memory, seeing the unbridled joy. Hopefully there’s more (nights like that) to come.

On his favourite moment as a Sunderland player:

Leading the team out at Wembley was special, but then my record in the derby games is so good. It’s a tie between those two.

@GHSAFC91's conclusion:

Having listened to the show in detail it's clear O'Shea was closely briefed by someone at the club on what to say and what not to say - although that was always going to be the case, especially considering they were likely expecting him to take a load of flack for the display at the weekend and likely answer questions about comings and goings, a subject the club guard very closely these days.

He wouldn't be drawn on transfer news, he wouldn't be drawn on talking about Paolo Di Canio's time at the club after being questioned and, when faced with the tougher questions, the presenter of the show was very keen to brush over it and move on. All things you expect, really.

It's a shame they couldn't have gotten O'Shea in before the season started, like BBC Newcastle did with Newcastle manager Steve McClaren, as maybe the questions would have been answered with the reins loosened slightly. That said, O'Shea speaks very calmly and throughout remained assured that things will change this season if Advocaat is allowed to mould a team here.

All in all, an enjoyable listen, really. If you have an hour spare today, tune in.

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