Luke O'Nien admits Sunderland have to do 'miles better' and reveals motivation for next season

Luke O’Nien insists the coaching from Mike Dodds and the staff at Sunderland “has been spot on and the players must be accountable for results".

The Black Cats skipper takes responsibility for a dismal last three months of the Championship campaign which saw the club finish just six points above the relegation zone.

O’Nien, 29, is desperate for the team to give something back to the loyal fans next season. He said: “It’s going to be a summer of big reflection. Look at last season, there were a lot of highs. I think the biggest thing for a football club when you have a season like this, you know we had many seasons in League One, all those seasons we didn’t get promoted, we used it when we did go up. We stayed up and competed.

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“It’s important that, again, this is a season where we take a lot from it. A lot of people have got to hold up the mirror including myself and have just got to get better in many parts.”

O’Nien finds it difficult to relax in the summer. He revealed: “I find it personally very hard to switch off. I will stick to my routine and watch this game back. It’s important the lads have a switch off because it’s been a long season but when it comes around to switching back on again, everyone has got to do it and come back very hot.

“I’m going to be responsible for that and there are going to be a lot more leaders stepping forward to make sure we drive standards better next season.

“I’m really proud to still be playing for this club but really disappointed we couldn’t give the fans more. We didn’t give them a lot of moments this season and that’s got to be motivation for next season as well.”

The defender has stepped into the captain’s role because Corry Evans was injured for the majority of the season. “They have been big shoes to step into with Corry,” he said. “I’ve learned a lot from him and I’ve enjoyed a lot of parts of this season. I’ve grown as a person, as a player. I’m still developing.

“The coaches have taught me so much about the game. They’ve given everything to this football club and sadly we haven’t justified how good they are with the results and that’s where I take a lot of responsibility in the performances. But again we will get there and those coaches, we will show how good they are in the future when we start getting the results we deserve. We have just got to get much better.”

On the 2-0 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday, he added: “I had mixed emotions. I actually walked out with my kids before the game so it was a proud moment for me and having them both in my arms, I can only thank the club and this area for giving me that opportunity and a memory that will live with me for the rest of my life.

“It was one of the highest moments. Obviously, with the game itself, I was disappointed. Our results this season haven’t been a reflection of the way we’ve been coached by the staff.

“I said that we’ve got to be accountable as players. The messages, the training and everything has been spot on.

“What happens in the game, they have coached us for that and it’s our responsibility to do miles better so, the facts and everything are in front of us, what we need to improve. What we are good at is clear but also our deficiencies are now very evident for us to think about and not only think about, to execute and get much better at.”