March 7 2014 Latest news:
Monday, December 23, 2013
Declaring games as must-win encounters is fine if you win them. If you don’t, the consequences can be dire. And as Sunderland’s former Arsenal goalkeeper Vito Mannone was left to explain the Black Cats failure to beat – or out-perform – their visitors on Saturday, there was little he could say to cover up what looks an increasingly forlorn situation for the Premier League’s bottom club.
A club that will be bottom on Christmas Day – and that almost always means relegation.
“It’s a big disappointment because we are better than Norwich and we didn’t show it today; it wasn’t enough,” said Mannone. “Winning in the League Cup against Chelsea, you think you’re getting somewhere. But I knew this game would be even tougher than beating Chelsea.
“I proved it when I was with Arsenal – you play Norwich and sometimes you lose. So imagine for a smaller team like us, playing for survival. We need to be better than that to come out of this situation because otherwise we are all going down: us, the fans, the club, everybody.”
Sunderland didn’t have enough to beat City – a recurring theme given goalless draws with West Ham and Aston Villa: “It’s about mentality,” added the Italian.
“You don’t get out of this by winning against Man City and Newcastle. You can cheer a lot, but it’s about these teams we are battling with. And we didn’t show at all we wanted to win this game as much. We are all on the same ship. I tried my best to keep the team in the game and this was a draw, but it feels like a big loss.
“We have to realise it’s our life and if I’m going down, I go down and so is the team-mate next to me. We all are.”