Vito Mannone could be handed a further opportunity against Liverpool tomorrow night, with Sam Allardyce looking for one of his two goalkeepers to be a hero.
Sunderland boss Allardyce sprung a shock in last weekend’s drubbing at Manchester City after handing a first opportunity during his tenure to back-up stopper Mannone in place of Costel Pantilimon.
I don’t really see anything that Vito did wrongSam Allardyce
Mannone’s only previous appearance this season had come in the League Cup rout against City, with Sunderland considering offloading the Italian in the January transfer window.
But despite picking the ball out of his net on four occasions, Mannone won’t necessarily be back on the bench when Liverpool visit the Stadium of Light tomorrow.
Allardyce wants one of his two front-line stoppers to spark some defensive resilience and provide the platform for a clean sheet after Sunderland have shipped 11 goals in four successive defeats.
The Black Cats boss said: “I haven’t made my mind up yet (on who will start against Liverpool).
“I don’t really see anything that Vito did wrong at City.
“We’ve got a goalkeeper that was Player of the Year not so long ago, and at this stage I needed to put him in and say ‘can you be the hero and make the saves that are needed to get the clean sheet we are looking for?’
“Look at (Stoke stopper) Jack Butland, if I am going to use anyone as an example at the moment.
“I see how many saves he makes when the game is 0-0 and then Stoke end up winning 1-0.
“Everybody gives the praise to the lad who scored the goal, but really Jack Butland has kept them in the position to go and win it.
“We need that from our goalie.
“They need to be the hero sometimes.”
The inclusion of Mannone at the Etihad was particularly surprising, considering it remains a distinct possibility that the 27-year-old will leave the club next month.
Amidst rumoured interest from Serie A pair Atalanta and Verona, Sunderland have been prepared to offload Mannone if the deal is right.
That would see academy product Jordan Pickford being recalled from his loan spell at Preston to provide competition for Pantilimon.