Mannone: Positive approach vital in Sunderland’s fight for survival

Vito Mannone.
Vito Mannone.

VITO MANNONE insists Sunderland’s survival bid will be doomed if negativity enters the Black Cats camp.

Sunderland squandered the chance to move out of the relegation zone on Saturday after they could not find a way past fellow strugglers Crystal Palace – the fifth time this season that the Black Cats have drawn a blank against a bottom-half side at the Stadium of Light.

But, despite the gap with the safety mark extending to three points, both head coach Gus Poyet and his players were all noticeably upbeat in their post-match assessments.

Goalkeeper Mannone says that MUST be the case, with little wrong with Sunderland’s determination or application against Palace, and the Black Cats getting another chance to beat one of their drop rivals at Norwich City this Saturday.

Mannone told the Echo: “We can’t be negative. We approached the game really well – Palace hardly touched the ball in the first half.

“Sometimes things go for you, sometimes they don’t.

“But, at the same time, you have to look at yourselves and maybe dig in really hard to find that solution if it’s not coming.

“We’re going to have more games like that in the near future when the teams around us come here and they are going to be happy with a point. We are not.

“There’s mixed feelings because you think the win will come against the smaller teams at home. But you never know really.

“The wins might come at the big clubs.

“We just need to come off the pitch giving everything, and I think we did that on Saturday.

“And of course, it will look a much better point if we win at Norwich.”

Mannone was able to keep his seventh clean sheet in 17 Premier League starts for Sunderland, with Palace showing little attacking ambition, albeit Kagisho Dikgacoi almost nicked the points at the death with the only meaningful effort from the visitors.

Sunderland’s £2million summer signing from Arsenal felt the Black Cats lacked a splash of fortune after Fabio Borini’s shot crashed against the bar and substitute Jozy Altidore was denied by an excellent save from Palace stopper Julian Speroni.

“The result is disappointing obviously because we really pushed for the three points,” added the Italian.

“But, at the same time, we can’t be too upset because we really played well and went into the game really wanting to win.

“They sat back for 90 minutes and we knew they would do that.

“We had most of the chances and were a bit unlucky as well.

“But, at the end of the day, we need to play each game from now on as we did on Saturday.

“I hope something will go our way and we will get the points we need.

“Their plan worked for them, but at the same time, I wouldn’t say our plan didn’t work.

“We did everything possible, like the (Capital One Cup) final, where we gave 100 per cent.

“Our main problem this season has been not being ourselves all the time; ups and downs.

“That’s what we need to do.”