February 25, 2024

Sunderland defender Luke O’Nien has thanked fans for their support following the Wear-Tyne derby defeat

Luke O’Nien says it is ‘daily mission’ to lead Sunderland back to the Premier League in an emotional message of thanks to the club’s supporters for their backing in the Wear-Tyne derby.

The Black Cats Bar fiasco dominated the build-up to the game, but a sold-out crowd produced an incredible atmosphere before kickoff that O’Nien says will “stay with him forever.” Even though Sunderland lost 3-0 in the end, O’Nien says he is more driven than ever to assist the team win back its rightful place in the Championship this next weekend.

Wear-Tyne derby: Luke O'Nien reacts to Sunderland 0-3 Newcastle - BBC Sport

“Leading the boys out in a Wear-Tyne Derby was a dream come true, one that the 4-year-old me who started [in] the game could never have imagined possible,” O’Nien wrote on social media.

“Now that the emotions of Saturday’s result have settled, I wanted to express my gratitude.The pride I have for the team, the club, and the city of Sunderland is immense, especially for everyone who’s supported me since I moved here.

“Despite the painful result, the experience will stay with me forever. Experiencing one of the greatest atmospheres and games in world football is what we players strive for in our careers.

“Encountering this level of atmosphere and being part of the magnitude of this game was a glimpse of what we want weekly. We aim to take this club back where it belongs, making it our daily mission for the fans and the city.

“Although we didn’t get the desired result, it fuels our daily motivation to bridge the gap until this club matches the fans’ passion and history once again. Thank you for your incredible support. We have 20 big games ahead of us.”

Sunderland face high-flying Ipswich Town at Portman Road on Saturday afternoon.

 

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