Just two wins all season and only 12 goals scored has seen the old Wearside pessimism roll down from the stands once again.
O'Neill said: "Sometimes I feel like it's been three months and other times, of course, it seems as if it has been a decade. That may have been just last week anyway.
"But I have enjoyed it immensely even though it has been tough going.
"We had a difficult task when I started. We got results early on and that took pressure off us and we stayed up even quicker than I had anticipated.
"If we had earned a point a game for 25 to 26 games I'd have been delighted - but after 26 games we had something like 33 points and were able to coast through to the end of the season, so much so that the Everton game in the FA Cup quarter-finals became the major disappointment. That was not on my agenda at the time.
"This season we knew was going to be tough. We signed two players for money and have asked those two to play at the top of their ability, which Steven Fletcher has done.
"We've got work to do in the team. That's obvious, I intend to do it.
"I had a difficult time to start with at Aston Villa but managed to turn around. And I've also been told after 37 Premier League games I've got 47 points, which if we get a point it will equal the best since Peter Reid was here."