By Joe Brewin

Arsène Wenger believes Martin O’Neill was the catalyst Sunderland required to turn things around.

The Black Cats have  transformed their Premier League fortunes since the Northern Irishman's arrival in December, picking up 22 points from a possible 30.

A difficult opening to the campaign cost Steve Bruce his job but Wenger always knew the Wearside club would turn things around.

“I felt that Sunderland were a bit unlucky at the start of the season with Steve Bruce,” said the Frenchman. 

“Sometimes when a team has a recent negative history they lose confidence, and a new manager coming in with the experience of Martin O'Neill always helps to boost the side. They are a good team and I am not surprised.

“I don't know too much what he has done on a daily basis but he has improved their results.

“They have done well and we are doing well. We have rebuilt our confidence and it is important that we go there in a positive mind and that we come back with three points.”

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10 Feb 2012