Sunderland star Costel Pantilimon has no problems with being dropped to the bench

Sunderland goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon had to watch from afar against Fulham.

Costel Pantilimon has told the Sunderland Echo that he didn't mind sitting on the substitutes' bench against Fulham in the club's last fixture as other players in the squad deserve their chance. 

Pantilimon has been a mainstay for Sunderland this campaign, but he was demoted to reserve choice against Fulham in the FA Cup with Vito Mannone filling in between the sticks. 

It is only expected to be a temporary switch from Gus Poyet, but a lot of players are renowned for their desire to play every week. 

Pantilimon, though, understands better than most the frustrations that come with being a back-up goalkeeper, having deputised for Joe Hart at former club Manchester City, and he had no complaints at missing out against Fulham. 

"It was okay (being on the bench against Fulham) because there are other players who deserve to play," he said. 

“Everyone trains hard and has a part to play for the team.

“We have good players, some have been injured, and it is good for them and for everybody that they are ready to give 100 per cent for the team.”

Mannone started this season as the club's number one, but Pantilimon's form has forced him down the pecking order. 

The tall Romanian has been one of the side's best performers this term and it is testament to his ability that he has forced Mannone out of the team.

Mannone won the club's Player of the Season award last campaign, but he has struggled with the increased competition and doesn't look close to winning his place back - even though he did keep a clean-sheet in the 0-0 draw with Fulham. 

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