Vito Mannone finds positives from Sunderland's struggles, says they must keep doing this

The Black Cats goalkeeper has been encouraged by the way his side have put opposition teams under pressure.

Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone has told the club's official website that despite the precarious situation at the bottom of the table he has been encouraged by the way his side have performed and put opposing teams under pressure in recent weeks.

The Black Cats have lost just one of their last six Premier League matches after being held to a 1-1 draw by arch-rivals Newcastle United in the Tyne-Wear derby in their last fixture.

That run has included coming within seconds of beating Southampton away from home and snatching a late point at home to Crystal Palace, and most prominently a 2-1 home victory over Manchester United in February.

Though Sunderland have recorded just one win in their last nine league matches, Mannone is confident they can escape trouble in the remaining weeks of the season if they continue to put their opposition under the same kind of pressure in matches.

The Italian told the club's official website: "We have big, big games coming up. The next one is massive and we need the three points, so we will take it from there. The boost a victory would provide would allow us to turn a corner and give us the momentum that can give us a further boost in the final seven games of the season.

"The positive thing is that we’ve been playing well; we had a good half against West Ham, a good game at Southampton and good first half against Crystal Palace and Newcastle, so we’re putting good teams under pressure.

"We also beat Manchester United so there have been some nice things about the season, and although the situation we’re in is not nice, the way we’re playing and the effort everyone is putting in will take the crowd with us for one last push."

Mannone has been Sam Allardyce's first-choice goalkeeper since making his first Premier League start of the season on Boxing Day, and his position was effectively cemented by the departure of Costel Pantilimon to Watford.

He looks certain to start again as Sunderland host a crucial home match against West Bromwich Albion this weekend as they look to take advantage of fellow strugglers Newcastle and Norwich playing each other and move out of the relegation zone.

The Black Cats are currently 18th in the league table, two points behind Norwich and a point ahead of the Magpies with a game in hand over the former.

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch