Sunderland already focused on Everton, despite Newcastle joy

Costel Pantilimon denies Aleksandar Mitrovic
Costel Pantilimon denies Aleksandar Mitrovic
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Costel Pantilimon says the Sunderland camp are already focusing on Sunday’s opponents Everton after their season-saving victory in the Wear-Tyne derby.

Sunderland moved off the foot of the table after finally registering an elusive first win of the campaign against Newcastle last weekend, yet Sam Allardyce’s men remain two points adrift of safety.

We have to learn from the past to be more focused and concentrate on the next game

Costel Pantilimon

Ominously, each of Sunderland’s previous four derby triumphs have been followed by a defeat, as the feelgood factor from beating the Magpies has immediately evaporated.

But goalkeeper Pantilimon insists the euphoria and relief stemming from the 3-0 win has been tempered by Sunderland’s current plight and the need to prevent post-derby history repeating itself.

Pantilimon said: “We enjoyed Sunday, but we’re already thinking about the next game.

“One win is not enough. We have to continue like this.

“We have to learn from the past, to be more focused and concentrate on the next game.

“It’s important for the group to have a good run now.

“We’re not in the best position and we need a few good results.

“If we hadn’t won on Sunday, the gap would have been massive.

“It’s not easy when you look at the table.

“When you are so close to winning in a few games and you don’t succeed in that, you lose a little bit of confidence.

“But I hope with this massive win for us and the fans, we can start winning games regularly now.”

Pantilimon was one of the key contributors to Sunderland’s win after the Romanian made superb saves to deny Aleksandar Mitrovic and then Georgi Wijnaldum when the Black Cats were one and 2-0 up respectively.

Crucially, that helped Sunderland secure a first clean sheet of the campaign to go with their win, and provide both goalkeeper and defenders with a much-needed confidence boost.

“I’m happy to help my team,” added Pantilimon.

“But I always like to congratulate my team-mates, because they did a great job. Only together can we have success.

“It’s important to get a clean sheet for my confidence, but also for the defence.

“We’ve struggled at the beginning of the season, but I hope it will be much better from now.”