Sunderland keeper Mannone’s in dreamland at Old Trafford

Vito Mannone tussles with Manchester United's Javier Hernandez
Vito Mannone tussles with Manchester United's Javier Hernandez
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VITO Mannone confessed: “I love Old Trafford!” after another dramatic day for Sunderland to savour at the Theatre of Dreams.

The former Arsenal keeper – hero of Sunderland’s Capital One Cup semi-final penalty shoot-out at the ground in January – was part of a Black Cats side which came, saw and conquered the Red Devils on home turf again at the weekend.

And the Italian admitted that he had had a good feeling about the encounter even before kick-off.

“Going into the game, I didn’t feel nervous at all,” he told the Echo.

“When I arrived at the ground, all that was on my mind was how great it was last time we were here.

“I think that was probably my best moment in a Sunderland shirt, that penalty shoot-out and the moments afterwards, and I think the rest of the lads were also feeling confident after the run we’ve been on and our memories of our last visit to Old Trafford.”

Sunderland’s Player of the Season managed a clean sheet in the 1-0 win over Ryan Giggs’ men

It was Mannone’s second shut-out in succession after the 4-0 win against Cardiff last weekend and the 26-year-old said he took a lot of pride in that.

“You know you are always going to come under pressure at Old Trafford, but we defended well as a team,” he said.

“We’ve hit a really good run of form at an important time and that is seeing us through games like this one where we’ve got the toughest of opponents but we’ve got the perfect attitude and have worked so hard.

“The mood in the dressing room afterwards was as fantastic as you’d expect it to be – we’d just got three points at Old Trafford, what more could you want?

“It’s such an important win for us.

“And knowing that we are almost safe is a great feeling for me in a first season for Sunderland which has been everything I could have hoped for and more.

“I would love to finish it this week with a couple of more wins and a couple more clean sheets but I’m so pleased at how the move to Sunderland has worked out.

“I want to thank the fans and everyone I’ve met in the North East for how kind and supportive they have been since I arrived.

“But most of all I want to thank my family and my partner, Fiorella, who has been so important to me,”

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