Sunderland fixtures now Champions League finals, says Vito Mannone

The Black Cats have four games left to ensure their Premier League survival.

Sunderland’s remaining fixtures this season are now the equivalent of Champions League finals, Vito Mannone has told Sky Sports.

The Black Cats are currently 17th in the table, level on points with Norwich City in 18th behind them and just a point ahead of Newcastle United In 19th.

Sunderland gave their survival hopes a major boost on Sunday as they secured a vital point against Arsenal, with the result taking them out of the relegation zone.

The race against the drop is set to go down to the wire though, and Mannone says their remaining games are now akin to Champions League finals.

"It's a strange feeling," he told Sky Sports. "You go in with pressure, but if you manage to change the pressure in a positive way and really push to do something special, really it feels like a Champions League final every game.

"I know we are fighting for the Premier League, but that's our Champions League. All we have to do is stay positive and wait for another final to come.”

Given their form of late, it seems Sunderland have the best chance from the current trio fighting it out to avoid the drop.

Apart from having a manager who knows what he is doing in such a situation in Sam Allardyce, they also have a striker in Jermain Defoe who has been impressive form despite his side’s struggles.

That is something the other two do not have at present, and it is likely to prove key as this relegation battle goes right down to the wire.

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