Slow Starters

Published Monday, 24 September 2012
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Things aren't quite going to plan for Brendan Rodgers or Martin O'Neill so far this season. Both managers are looking for their first win of the campaign but, despite their record, things haven't been all bad.

There will be people out there who will be quick to criticise both men and there may even be a few of you reading this who may think they are contenders in the sack race. I agree that both cannot sustain the winless run for much longer but neither should be in fear of losing their jobs.

A premiership season is a marathon, not a sprint. Liverpool and Sunderland have enough quality in their squads to be pushing for a Europa League place which is exactly what both should be aiming for this season.

It is easy to look at the points tallies and be uninspired but you have to take into account that both teams have played each other and Arsenal. In addition, Liverpool have played both Manchester clubs and a West Brom side that has surprised everyone, whilst Sunderland were unlucky not to get a win against West Ham and played a Swansea team on top form.

I'm not making excuses and I'm not saying that everything is going swimmingly but at this stage of the season Liverpool and Sunderland fans shouldn't be too downhearted.

Take Sunday's games for example, Liverpool's game against Manchester United was always going to be difficult given the outcome of the Hillsborough inquiry during the week and the performance of the referee didn't help their cause.

As for Sunderland, they lead right up until stoppage time at the end of the second half before former Newcastle player Kevin Nolan popped up with an equaliser. Both games told the story of each clubs season so far in that they just aren't getting that little bit of luck needed to win a match.

Patience is the key for both teams now and O'Neill and Rodgers must do their best in keeping the players relaxed and not let the pressure of getting that elusive first win get to them.

The reds and the black cats are more than capable of putting a run of victories together if they can get that first win out of the way.

I expect both Northern Irishmen to turn their fortunes around sooner rather than later and, come May, this sluggish start will be a distant memory, assuming (and hoping) they are still employed by then.

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Michael Law
Michael Law

Michael Law gives his thoughts on some of the major talking points from the world of sport, from football or darts to rugby and martial arts.

Michael is a media degree graduate and has been hidden in the UTV Library since 2010 archiving local sport and news stories for the newsroom.

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