Published Friday, 05 April 2013
O'Neill says he saved Sunderland last season and deserved a chance. (© Getty)
The Ulsterman, who was sacked last weekend following a 1-0 defeat to Manchester United, says he saved the Black Cats from relegation last season and could have done it again.
O'Neill told Radio 5 Live: "With the experience I have had over the years ... also coming into the football club at a time when the club was pretty well on its knees.
"I believed I saved it from relegation last year and I thought that opportunity should still have been afforded to me."
You can lose a job in management if your tie doesn't fit your suit.
Sunderland, currently sitting 16th in the table after going eight games without a top flight win, were in a similarly perilous position when O'Neill arrived in December 2011.
The Kilrea man and former Northern Ireland captain breathed new life into the squad as he inspired them to a 13th place finish.
There was considerable shock when, just 15 months after taking up the role, Stadium of Light chairman Ellis Short opted to dispense with O'Neill's services so late in the season, and replace him with controversial Italian manager Paolo Di Canio.
O'Neill spoke of his disappointment at being let go.
"I am still pretty disappointed, frustrated as much as anything else - but life goes on," he said.
"I'm in the business now where I think very little shocks you about professional football, especially in the last 10 years."
Sunderland will begin their tricky run-in with a trip to Chelsea on Sunday.
© UTV News