VITO MANNONE says Sunderland are “desperate” to break their Premier League duck after building some secure foundations.
Mannone registered his second successive top-flight clean sheet in last weekend’s goalless draw against Swansea, with only the Swans, Southampton and this Saturday’s opponents Stoke, conceding fewer than the Black Cats this season.
But while the Italian goalkeeper is glad to see Sunderland proving to be defensively rigid, he realises that the Black Cats need to take the big step of a first league victory after drawing five of their opening six encounters.
“We’re all happy about the clean sheets,” said Mannone.
“We wanted to reduce the goals and I think we’ve done that in the last few weeks.
“But, at the same time, we are desperate to win a game.
“Not desperate, desperate, but in a positive way. We want to get the three points, because then I think we can have a good season.”
Mannone was barely involved against Swansea, with the visitors producing just one shot on target and being limited to efforts from long-range.
“I’ll take a few more like that if they come!” said the former Arsenal man.
“But, to be honest, I like to be involved and everyone knows that.
“The gaffer and goalkeeping coach were joking with me after the game because normally I have more touches than that.
“But a clean sheet is a clean sheet.
“From my point of view, it’s better to be safe and reliable to the team than making a fantastic save when it’s not really there.”
Mannone did not feature in Stoke’s victory at the Stadium of Light in the Capital One Cup last week, after Gus Poyet handed summer signing Costel Pantilimon only his second outing in Sunderland colours.
But, after watching Stoke’s win against second-bottom Newcastle on Monday night, Mannone is well aware of the test facing Sunderland to register that first win this weekend.
“We know what we’re getting again,” he added. “I watched the game against Newcastle and they’ve got threats on the wing and in the man up front in (Peter) Crouch.
“We need to deal with him. They’re a really physical, strong side, but they’ve improved a lot with the way they play football.
“I think it will be an open game and we need to come out on top.”