Costel Pantilimon: Now I can enjoy being at Sunderland

Sunderland goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon has expressed his delight at seeing The Black Cats avoid the drop.

Sunderland secured Premier League safety after holding Arsenal to a scoreless draw at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night.

It has been a tough season for Sunderland and all those involved with the club, but players like Pantilimon can now look forward to playing in better, and more comfortable, circumstances.

Pantilimon, now seen as first choice goalkeeper at the Stadium of Light, once upon a time featured for Manchester City in cup competitions. After a string of stellar performances, another Premier League move opened up and game time was a key factor in the transfer.

"We showed we are a good team and that we can defend, especially in this game against a very good team," Pantilimon told talkSPORT.

"Every save I make is to help the team. It's my job. Football is all about teamwork and I'm happy I can work with these players and I can be part of this team.

"It was a tough game and we had a little bit of luck but sometimes you need that, especially under such big pressure when it's not easy to play in a fight against relegation.

"It has been a tough few weeks but we are happy now and we can enjoy it together. Importantly, so can the fans."

It's a relief seeing a good goalkeeper that once played second fiddle move elsewhere and be appreciated. Pantilimon showcased his ability in the cups for Manchester City, but now he can do it consistently for Sunderland.

The reliance on a goalkeeper at Sunderland, however, is very different to that at City. Pantilimon was even named man-of-the-match in the game that secured The Black Cat's safety in the top-flight, which emphasises his importance to the team.

Sunderland round off their 2014/15 campaign with a trip to Stamford Bridge on Sunday, home of the current champions Chelsea.

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