Lee Cattermole is full of praise for the way Martin O'Neill turned Sunderland's fortunes around after arriving at the Stadium of Light.
O'Neill was appointed following the sacking of Steve Bruce last November, when Sunderland had accumulated just 11 points from their first 13 games of the Premier League season.
The Black Cats' revival saw them move from just above the relegation zone into the top 10, before ending the season in 13th place and their captain puts it down to the way O'Neill quickly restored the squad's confidence.
"Martin brought a massive lift to the place," Cattermole told the club's official website. "And if you look at the results after he took over it showed what an impact he had.
"He gave all the lads the confidence boost they needed and the fans got right behind us. With that we went from strength to strength."
Last season started with high hopes after Sunderland had made several moves in the summer transfer market, and Cattermole has reflected on how the team struggled to cope with early setbacks.
"Going into the season we signed a lot of good players but sometimes it takes time for them to gel as a team.
"We started great at Liverpool with a draw and played Newcastle off the park only to lose.
"Things like that can change your season and from then on we really struggled to get back on track.
"That resulted in Steve Bruce going, but we knew we had to pick ourselves up. It was the first time I've lost a manager in mid-season and it took a few days to get my head around, but I knew I had to impress again."
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