Why League Cup success can kick-start Sunderland's Premier League campaign

Vito Mannone says there is no point the Sunderland camp beating themselves up over the poor start to the Premier League campaign.

Tuesday, 23rd August 2016, 7:42 am
Updated Tuesday, 23rd August 2016, 8:44 am
Vito Mannone

And he has called on his teammates to use tomorrow night’s EFL Cup game against Shrewsbury Town at the Stadium of Light to kick-start their season.

David Moyes’ problems are mounting after back-to-back league defeats, a rising injury list and there is just over a week left before the transfer window closes.

Mannone, though, is a veteran of the club’s 2013-14 League Cup campaign, which saw them defeat Manchester United in the semi-finals before losing to Manchester City at Wembley in a remarkable cup run.

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At the same time, Sunderland were in the middle of another Great Escape in the league under then boss Gus Poyet and he says a good cup run can spark improved league form.

The 28-year-old said: “It is a special competition for me. I was very happy with that cup run, the Old Trafford night and making the final.

“It is an important competition.

“It was like a kind of training for the league; it builds your confidence and gives games to most of the boys in the team.

“If you do well, you do well in the league. We need to treat it like this, as a competitive league game.

“We need to win Wednesday if we want to win on Saturday. We can’t do badly if we want to win on Saturday.”

Moyes’ squad face the long trip to the south coast this weekend to face Southampton, with Sunderland desperate for a positive result after defeats to Manchester City and Middlesbrough.

Sunderland were close to three points last season against 10-man Saints until Virgil van Dijk snatched a stoppage-time equaliser.

Mannone says the players will go there confident of getting off the mark.

“Yes, that is what we have to do. We can’t kill ourselves. There is no point,” added the Italian.

“I think we cannot look back, we need to look at the present and the future.

“Present will be Wednesday, get a good result and performance and build on that into Southampton.

“A difficult game, a difficult team but we were close last year so why can’t we go into the game with a good mentality.”

Moyes is likely to hand England Under-21 international Jordan Pickford his first start of the season against Shrewsbury Town tomorrow night (7.45pm kick-off), with Mannone returning for the trip to Southampton.

Not that Mannone wants to spend the night watching from the bench.

He added: “Every game is a competition, I want to step in.

“I don’t know what will happen Wednesday night though, we wait on the manager.”