Double joy for Vito

by Kate Smith

‘Bragging rights are great but three points are massive.’

Vito Mannone described his first experience of the north east derby as ‘amazing.’

Sunderland’s win over Newcastle United at St James’ Park on Saturday was the goalkeeper’s first involvement in the clash, although he was an interested spectator during the previous two encounters – once from the bench and once from his sofa!

“It was amazing,” the Italian beamed. “Few words can describe the feeling as we left the pitch, I’m so proud of what the team have done and I’m so proud of the fans, they deserve to be able to enjoy this victory, especially after the start we had to the season.”

Mannone, who stepped in for injured stopper Keiren Westwood back in November, missed out on playing in the game with Newcastle at the Stadium of Light earlier this season and since then the Italian has notched 21 appearances for the Black Cats and only been on the losing side five times.

“We need to stay focussed and continue doing what we are doing,” the 25 year-old explained.

“We’re improving and we’ve more chances to progress and get better and although we’ve not achieved anything yet, finally we have a team who knows how to deal with each game and can handle the pressure they bring and go on and get important wins,” he added.

“The win over Newcastle is a massive one.”

Sunderland’s recent upturn in form has seen them pick up 10 points in their last four Barclays Premier League games and Mannone admits that the satisfaction of a derby win is doubled because of how crucial the accompanying three points are.

“It was important to get the result not only because it’s was derby and all Sunderland fans want bragging rights, but at the end of the day it was three points to gain and we won those and now we can start looking up the table."