O'Neill hails marksman McClean
Martin O'Neill showered praise on James McClean who ran riot during Sunderland's 3-1 victory over QPR.
By Hayley Paterson
Last Updated: 24/03/12 6:38pm
Martin O'Neill showered praise on man of the match James McClean after the Sunderland winger punished a lacklustre QPR outfit.
The Irishman seemed in fine celebratory mood following his contract extension at the Stadium of Light as he set up Nicklas Bendtner for Sunderland's first against Mark Hughes' struggling Rs.
McClean then laid off a pass to David Vaughan who put it on a plate for Stephane Sessegnon and the 22-year-old then rounded off his perfect performance with a second-half strike.
O'Neill could not help but be delighted with McClean and the rest of his Black Cats side who responded in superb fashion having lost at Blackburn on Tuesday night.
"I thought he (McClean) was outstanding today, absolutely outstanding. And to be perfectly honest he's been outstanding since he came into the limelight," O'Neill told Sky Sports.
"I think (it was a) great performance by him today and he's earned every penny of it and he's been a great boost to the football club here in his time.
"He's got a great attitude to it. Not just a great attitude, he's got a great ability as well as he's shown this afternoon, I thought he was outstanding and I'm obviously delighted for him."
The Sunderland boss also remarked on Bendtner's form and finishing of late and also Sessegnon's comeback from suspension, labelling both stars as "outstanding".
QPR offered little in the game and found themselves numerically disadvantaged when ex-Sunderland striker Djibril Cisse was given a straight red card for a two-footed lunge on Fraizer Campbell.
Despite Taye Taiwo's consolation, O'Neill was happy with how the hosts performed in a season arguably turned around following the Northern Irishman's appointment as they currently lie in eighth with 40 points on the board.
"I'm delighted with the performance and there were some great individual performances this afternoon," O'Neill said.
"The response was great from the team and we scored three goals in the game and played very well in good periods of the game, particularly in the second half.
"I think if you had mentioned to me early December that we could have 40 points on the board I would've taken that immediately.
"The players have been terrific, absolutely terrific and so obviously with 40 points achieved, we want to try and set your sights a bit higher and that's what we'll go for."
However, the Black Cats, who now have an FA Cup replay to concentrate on with a quarter-final clash against Everton, did suffer the disappointment of stand-in skipper John O'Shea leaving the field early after picking up an injury.
O'Neill added: "That is a disappointment because John has been playing excellently for us.
"Phil Bardsley was ill today and so missed out on the game. John went to play right-back and he's been outstanding at centre-back for us. It's a real shame, it's a calf problem and at this stage of the season it is something he wouldn't have wanted to miss, he's been really terrific for us."