O'Neil targets derby joy
Gary O'Neil is hoping to give Middlesbrough's frustrated fans something to celebrate this weekend.
By Chris Burton
Last Updated: 25/11/08 5:08pm
Gary O'Neil is hoping to give Middlesbrough's frustrated supporters something to celebrate this weekend.
The Teessiders saw a five-match unbeaten run come to an end on Saturday when they slipped to a lacklustre 3-1 defeat to Bolton.
That inept showing on home soil saw certain sections of the Riverside faithful turn on the players, jeering them from the field at full-time.
O'Neil accepts that a recent run which has seen the club win only three of their last 11 Premier League fixtures fully justifies the terrace taunts, but has promised an improved showing from Gareth Southgate's men when arch-rivals Newcastle roll into town on Saturday.
"Next week, I think it will be different. I think the fans will see a more end-to-end game," said the midfielder.
"Newcastle will play a lot higher than Bolton. They dropped right off us.
"Hopefully we can play our game and get our noses in front this time.
"We played quite well after the start we had on Saturday. But they put 10 men back behind the ball and threw everything in the way, as I found out twice."
O'Neil had two shots cleared off the line as Boro attempted to find a route back into a game which had seen them fall two goals behind inside the opening 10 minutes.
However, for all their possession, an Emanuel Pogatetz consolation was all they were ultimately able to muster as three vital points slipped through their grasp.
"Ten minutes at the start killed us. We were slow out of the blocks and got heavily punished," added O'Neil.
"Bolton probably had four attacks and scored three goals.
"It's a strange one. We were left scratching our heads a little as to what went wrong.
"I don't know why it was such a slow start. We need to look at ourselves and we will do that this week."