Vito Mannone explains why Sunderland are in better shape this season than in previous relegation scraps

Mannone feels having Allardyce around the club longer than managers in previous seasons is a big plus.

Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone believes the side are in better shape that in previous relegation battles, despite their current position, because they haven't had to change their manager with such a short period of the season left to play. 

Twice in the previous three seasons Sunderland have brought in managers in order to try and pull off a late season surge up the table to maintain their Premier League status.

The new manager effect of the brief Paulo Di Canio reign was enough to maintain their Premier League status in 2013 before he was sacked earlier on in the following season, while Dick Advocaat was drafted in to lead them to safety during the last campaign.

Allardyce was appointed the Sunderland boss in October and has had one transfer window in order to bring in some players to help the side avoid relegation. 

Mannone is quoted in the Chronicle, saying: “I think it’s really difficult to change a manager in the last 10 games. We’ve seen it work here in the past, but it is difficult.

“It’s more like you are desperate and you have to rush everything to get results.

“You don’t know the manager really well until you’ve had a few months with him.

“Now we know what our manager wants and we go onto the pitch knowing what to do and how to get results.”

The problem is for Sunderland that despite some promising performances of late, some that you wouldn't associate with a team fighting for their Premier League survival, they haven't had the results to match it.

The Black Cats are currently four points adrift of this weekend's opponents Norwich City, and Sunderland simply can't afford to lose at Carrow Road, allowing that gap to open up further in the process. 

Comparing that to other seasons after 32 games, though Sunderland were in alarming form, they were just about keeping their heads above water by the time they sacked their manager.

Last season they were three points clear of the drop zone, and the season when Di Canio came into the club they were out of the relegation zone on goal difference. 

In the playing sense they probably are in better shape, but points on the board is what really matters.

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch