O’Neill axed by struggling Sunderland

Martin O’Neill treating Aston Villa fans to dinnerSunderland have sacked boss Martin O’Neill following the 1-0 defeat to Manchester United on Saturday.

The Stadium of Light outfit are now just one point clear of the relegation zone and have not won since their victory over Wigan on January 19.

O’Neill’s departure was confirmed just hours after the home loss to United.

A club statement said: “Sunderland AFC has announced that it has parted company with manager Martin O’Neill.

“The club would like to place on record its thanks to Martin and wishes him well for the future.

“An announcement will be made in the coming days regarding a successor.”

Sunderland are without a win in eight league games and face a real battle to remain in the Premier League, with a tough seven final fixtures ahead of them including games against European champions Chelsea, fierce rivals Newcastle and fellow strugglers Aston Villa, Stoke and Southampton.

The Wearside outfit are expected to name a successor before next weekend’s trip to Chelsea, with Steve McLaren, Alan Curbishley and Mark Hughes already linked with the now vacant role.