‘Feels like Champions League’ – Mannone

25 Apr

Vito Mannone


Vito Mannone has played 17 games for Sunderland this season

Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone says every game “feels like the Champions League final” as they fight for Premier League survival.

The Black Cats drew 0-0 with Arsenal to climb out of the relegation zone for the first time since early March.

“We’re fighting for the Premier League, but that’s our Champions League,” the 28-year old told BBC Newcastle.

“Going forward we need to maintain this standard and hopefully score a few of the chances we create.”

The goalless draw was a fourth successive clean sheet for Sunderland, who had conceded in each of their 16 games before that.

“It’s a strange feeling, but it feels like the Champions League Final every game,” said Mannone.

“We knew how tough it was to come away with a clean sheet against a great opponent.

“I think you can see now that all of our heads are in the right direction.”

“What we’ve learnt from other teams like Leicester is that you don’t care who you play against – you just go and try to win the games.”

Sunderland, who travel to Stoke on Saturday, are now 17th, above Norwich only on goal difference and one point clear of 19th-placed Newcastle.

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But the Wearsiders are the form team at the bottom of the table, having taken 12 points from their last 10 games, compared to Newcastle’s six and Norwich’s eight.

With only four games remaining Sunderland, manager Sam Allardyce is encouraged by his side’s improved position in the table.

“We can now determine our own destiny by the results that we get,” the ex-West Ham manager said.

“If we get better results than Norwich and Newcastle then we stay up.”

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