COSTEL Pantilimon admits Sunderland have too often proved to be a let-down for supporters at the Stadium of Light this season.
But the Romanian says Sunderland need all the help they can get from the terraces if they are to improve their survival chances against Southampton this weekend.
Sunderland fell into the relegation zone for only the second time this season last weekend and that situation could get even worse tonight when in-form Leicester host Chelsea.
Last night, Steve Bruce’s Hull beat Liverpool to move four points clear of the Wearsiders.
The Black Cats are one of only two Premier League sides who have won just three times on their own turf this season, with Dick Advocaat’s side capitulating against Crystal Palace in their last Stadium of Light outing.
But despite continually letting down the Stadium of Light’s highest average attendance for a decade, Pantilimon has called for Sunderland supporters to create a white-hot atmosphere akin to the Wear-Tyne derby when Southampton come to town on Saturday.
Pantilimon told the Echo: “We need the same atmosphere as there was against Newcastle.
“At this kind of moment, we need that support.
“We know we haven’t played so well at home at times this season.
“But we need them to work together because only like that can we keep this team in the Premier League.”
Pantilimon was an unused substitute for Sunderland’s infamous trip to Southampton back in October, as the Black Cats suffered utter humiliation in an 8-0 rout.
The ex-Manchester City stopper claims Sunderland’s players have moved on from that drubbing, but knows how dearly Advocaat’s men need to gain some revenge by registering maximum points against the Saints.
“Souithampton are a good team, but with the quality we have and a good team spirit, we can get maximum points,” added Pantilimon.
“The game down there was something unique.
“I think everyone has forgotten about it.
“It can happen in football. It’s not easy to take it, but this is football and sometimes you have to accept it.
“We’ve forgotten about it because we moved on.
“Now it’s important to just look forwards.”