O'Neill - I've not got many mates
Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill does not believe he has many friends in football and felt his side were denied a victory at Aston Villa.
Last Updated: 21/04/12 6:08pm
Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill does not believe he has many friends in football and felt his side were denied a victory by match officials at former club Aston Villa.
The Irishman on Saturday afternoon faced Villa for the first time since surprisingly leaving the club in August 2010 following four positive years in charge.
O'Neill, who was booed by the Villa fans in the drab 0-0 draw, has said the reasons for his departure have never been explained and he remains guarded on his decision to quit.
But reports have always suggested a breakdown in the former Leicester and Celtic boss' relationship with Villa owner Randy Lerner was a factor in his exit.
And O'Neill has implied he is not always an easy person to work with, as he told Sky Sports when asked if he still had any friends at Villa: "It is a very good point.
"I'm not so sure that I have that many friends anywhere. So, there we go."
O'Neill's Sunderland have now not scored in four successive league matches, but they could have taken all the points at Villa Park had a Nicklas Bendtner effort not been disallowed.
One of referee Anthony Taylor's assistants flagged for offside in the build-up and replays suggested it was a tight decision.
O'Neill, though, was not surprised given the recent spate of controversial decisions from match officials in the Premier League.
He said: "We should have won it. We had a goal that was disallowed for offside, which was incorrectly called by the linesman."
O'Neill added: "If the flag goes up early or late, it doesn't matter. He (the referee's assistant) has to see it across the line. He is level."
Sunderland finished the game with 10 men after former Villa player Craig Gardner, who in 2010 left for rivals Birmingham, was sent off in injury time after collecting two cautions.
And O'Neill said: "I think the second yellow looks quite harsh."