Sport Soccer

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Poyet backing for Mannone

Published 19/04/2014 | 06:52

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Vito Mannone's howler cost Sunderland victory at Manchester City

Gus Poyet is confident Vito Mannone has the mental strength to bounce back from his costly midweek howler when struggling Sunderland visit Chelsea.

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The 26-year-old Italian goalkeeper allowed Samir Nasri's tame shot to squirm from his grasp and over the line as Manchester City snatched a 2-2 draw with the Black Cats at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday evening.

Until that point, it looked as if Connor Wickham's double would hand the visitors an unlikely and invaluable victory which could have proved hugely significant in their fight for Barclays Premier League survival.

But although he was devastated on the final whistle, Mannone will be between the posts again at Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening, and Poyet will have no qualms about retaining his services.

The 46-year-old Uruguayan said: "That's why when you have a son, the first thing you say is, 'Don't play in goal. Any position but in goal'.

"It doesn't matter how well you play for 89 minutes, it doesn't matter how many saves or crosses you catch, if you make one mistake, it is going to cost you a goal.

"It's the worst position to be part of. But the goalkeepers know that and the have to live with that and they have cope with that.

"I think Vito wants just to play again as soon as soon as possible. I have got no doubts he is going to play (at Stamford Bridge), it's not a problem for me."

The Black Cats headed south still six points adrift of safety and ruing the two which slipped from their grasp in midweek.

However, they did so having restored a measure of pride and confidence with their performance against a City side who never really got to grips with them.

Poyet knows life will be no less difficult against title-chasing Chelsea, but he is looking for a performance of similar character to keep alive their survival hopes.

He said: "The idea is to play and believe in what you do and stay in the game, don't give up, don't throw the game away in 20 minutes because not a long time ago, Arsenal after 20 minutes were down to 10 and 3-0 down at Stamford Bridge, and that's a difficult one to take because then you don't have too many options to change.

"The idea is to start strongly to make it difficult, but at the same time to put them under pressure."

Poyet, of course, spent four years at Chelsea as a player, but will not allow old friendships to deflect him on his return.

He said: "Before the game and after the game is going to be great because I have got so many friends, even in the tunnel.

"The idea is just to make sure during the game, I just concentrate on us and don't look for anything apart from trying to get something from the game."

Press Association

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