Sunderland’s Mannone: Every game is a Champions League final

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Following their scoreless draw with Arsenal over the weekend, Sunderland is out of the relegation zone with four matches to play.

However, the Black Cats are still tied on points with Norwich City, above the drop only on goal differential.

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With such little room for error, Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone has said the team is treating every match like the Champions League final as the fight for Premier League survival really heats up.

We’re fighting for the Premier League, but that’s our Champions League. We need to maintain this standard and hopefully score a few of the chances we create.

It’s a strange feeling, but it feels like the Champions League Final every game.

We knew how tough it was to come away with a clean sheet against a great opponent. I think you can see now that all of our heads are in the right direction.

What we’ve learnt from other teams like Leicester is that you don’t care who you play against – you just go and try to win the games.

Sunderland’s mentality seems to be working as Sam Allardyce‘s men have taken points from six of their last seven matches, the club’s best run of the season. Mannone certainly has stepped up his game, keeping three clean sheets in four starts.

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The Black Cats will need to continue playing each game like a cup final, with a tricky run of matches to end the season against Stoke, Chelsea, Everton, and Watford, with each point crucial for their survival hopes.