Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill has said that there are still plenty of room for improvement within the club ahead of the start of the new season. The former Aston Villa manager took over at the club to replace Steve Bruce midway through the last season.

He helped the club finished respectably in the 13th position, although it is expected that finishing in the European places would be his target this season. As a result, the club was expected to be active in the transfer window. Even more than the arrivals, Martin O’Neill could be worried about the form of the club in the pre-season. The main sunderland fixtures start on Aug 18th.

After the 2-0 defeat at the hands of the Swedish club Helsingborgs, Sunderland have now lost three of the four pre-season friendlies they have played. This poor preparation may mean that the club may not be in a position to challenge for a European place come the start of the season. After the latest defeat at the hands of the Swedish club, Martin O’Neill said that the players should improve a lot in order to think about finishing in the top half of the table. Sunderland will have two more friendlies before the start of the new season. They will be playing Derby and Leicester.

“I’m not overly worried about the results, but there is room for lots of improvement both physically and in terms of performance. There’s lots to work going on in every aspect of our game. But I’ve been involved in pre-seasons where we have won every game and then struggled when the league started. We’ve got two more friendlies left, against Derby and Leicester next week,” said the Sunderland manager after the match. The club are looking to sign the Wolverhampton Wanderers striker Steven Fletcher for around £ 10 million, but had their bid rejected recently.