Vito relishing cup challenge

by Oscar Chamberlain

Keeper looking forward to returning to cup action.

Vito Mannone believes the Capital One Cup can once again provide the inspiration for Barclays Premier League success.

The goalkeeper played an inspirational part in the Black Cats’ road to Wembley last season, putting in a number of impressive performances that included penalty shootout heroics against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

This time around Mannone and co begin their cup campaign with a visit to St Andrews to take on Birmingham City, and the shot-stopper expects a tough game against the Blues.

“They are at home and they want to progress in the cup, as we do because we have only just entered it.

“We need to play the game and be intelligent, I think we are a better team in terms of quality but we will need to show it because it will be a very tough game.”

He continued: “It is so important we go there with the right mentality because these games are the toughest ones – you saw last year we were 2-0 down against MK Dons and we had to recover in an amazing way.

“We have already experienced what can happen in this cup and to do it again we need to start with the right mentality.”

Mannone also explained how the cup can impact the team’s league performance, adding that they will give their best to recapture the spirit shown during last season’s incredible journey to the capital.

“The cup was very important last season because it united us as a group.

“We want to give our best at every opportunity we get and the Capital Cup One final was massive for us, so why not repeat the same spirit at least.

“Whatever happens we will do our best."