Sunderland are better prepared for relegation battle, says Mannone

Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone believes the Black Cats are a better side now than they were in previous years as they bid to avoid the drop this season.

Sunderland are better prepared for relegation battle, says Mannone
Mannone is confident the side are stronger than that of last season. (Photo: Getty Images)

Vito Mannone believes that Sunderland are more stable, more united as a team and better prepared than the side that battled to stay in the Premier League last season.

Sam Allardyce is a big part of what the Black Cats are all about now, and the Italian shot stopper hopes that he will stay as manager regardless if they avoid the drop or not.

Sunderland travel to Carrow Road on Saturday to face Norwich City in a make-or-break clash, as they know that they need to win to close the four-point gap to safety.

Better chance of survival this season

Only six games remain now, and after the lunchtime kick-off on Saturday, the Black Cats will know where they stand ahead of the run in to the end of the season. Mannone is adamant that they are in a “much better shape” than what they were at this stage last season under former boss Dick Advocaat.

“I think it’s really difficult to change a manager in the last 10 games. We’ve seen it work here in the past, but it’s difficult,” Mannone told the Chronicle. The goalkeeper believes that because the squad know what the manager wants, then it has helped them to know what to do and how to go out and get the results that are needed.

Manning wants Allardyce to stay regardless of season outcome. | Photo: Getty Images
Manning wants Allardyce to stay regardless of season outcome (Photo: Getty Images)

Allardyce a key figure at the Stadium of Light

Despite Allardyce refusing to commit to the Black Cats if they get relegated this season, the Italian believes that he is the key element to the side, as he hopes that Big Sam will stay with the side come the end of the season.

“Obviously the manager needs to stay. If he’s here and we do stay up it’s going to be a good base for this club to finally get what it’s able to achieve,” Mannone said. The shot stopper believes the club has the potential to be a “very good” club, but they have to start and get higher in the league table by looking at other teams like “Stoke and Swansea”.

Players likely to come and go

Mannone also spoke about Leicester City and how they’ve turned their fortune around “so quickly”, but he also stated that the Black Cats are more stable and are in a better situation to stay up.

Sunderland have expressed their desire to keep hold of Yann M’Vila and DeAndre Yedlin past their loan deals, but Dame N’Doye is likely to return to his parent club. 

Steven Fletcher, Danny Graham and Charis Mavrias are all out on loan until the end of the season and whether they will be retained or let go come the end of the season, it is to be seen.

Wes Brown, Steve Harper and Valentin Roberge all find themselves out of contract in the summer, but Harper was only signed as cover, so it will come as no surprise if he departs.