Mannone to keep his place in Sunderland line-up against Arsenal

Vito Mannone
Vito Mannone
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SUNDERLAND stopper Vito Mannone will keep his place for this weekend’s clash against his former club Arsenal, Gus Poyet has confirmed.

Mannone was beaten eight times in last Saturday’s rout against Southampton, albeit the Italian was offered only feeble protection by the shambolic Sunderland defence.

But despite summer signing Costel Pantilimon pushing for first-team inclusion, Poyet today pledged to keep faith with Mannone against the Gunners.

Poyet said:”Normally I don’t change the goalkeeper when they have a bad game.

“When they have two bad games, then they have a problem.

“The other goalkeeper is very good, but at the moment, there is no decision to make.”

However, Poyet did indicate that he would make changes from the XI which started at St Mary’s, with the likes of Jack Rodwell and Adam Johnson both in contention to return to the side.

“Because of the squad we’ve got, it’s not like I can change 10,” said Poyet.

“Don’t worry, 75 per cent of the team is going to have the chance to play on Saturday.

“I would like to play the game in the next hour or so. That’s the best way of knowing what happens.

“I’m really looking forward to the game.”

Poyet admits it has been a tough week on the training ground in the aftermath of the Southampton rout, but says he has tried to move the squad’s focus onto Arsenal.

“On Tuesday we had a unique and unexpected meeting that I’m not a great fan of. looking at so many negative things,” he added.

“But there are exceptions and this was a clear exception.

“After that in training, we tried, it’s not easy, just to think about Arsenal.

“If you just think about last weekend, you’ll go nowhere.

“Yes, it was very quiet.

“It was as quiet as I can remember.

“It wasn’t easy for anyone, for the club, for anyone in here but also for the players.

“They were on the pitch.

“If I was on the touchline and I felt so embarrassed, imagine the players on the pitch.”