Sunderland boss O'Neill: Beating Middlesbrough in Cup IS important

Martin O'Neill knows Sunderland's clash with Middlesbrough tonight is a big thing for fans.

The Capital One Cup tie is Sunderland's second derby in just over a week.

The Sunderland boss said: "This is important. We have got through a couple of rounds, we have a home tie which has to finish on the night, and we want to try win as it is a local derby and what awaits winners is the quarter-finals. That should be big enough incentive.

"The most important stat of any weekend is the result but the more players we flood into penalty area to try get a goal is important. Against Stoke the ratio of players getting into the area, maybe you couldn’t tell, but it improved and that is something we have to do, we have talked about it."

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