Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone believes an FA Cup third-round victory at home to Burnley on Saturday will help build momentum for the side’s Premier League relegation battle heading into the second half of the season.
The Italian said his side would be aiming to build on a crucial point gained against Liverpool on Monday but the 4-1 league defeat they suffered away to the Clarets on New Year’s Eve was fresh in their minds.
“For me (the game against Burnley was difficult) because it was my first game for three or four months due to injury,” the 28-year-old told the club website.
“We can’t do it against the big clubs and then not against the clubs in and around us, but if we do it, starting this weekend against Burnley, we have a chance and they beat us too easy on New Year’s Eve.”
Sunderland, who are 18th in the league, have won just once in their last six games after an encouraging run of form had raised hopes of a surge up the standings.
“We have to keep fighting for each other because the crowd will get behind us and we’ll get the results to stay up,” Mannone added.
Following Saturday’s encounter, the Black Cats will refocus their attention to the league as they host Stoke City on Jan. 14 before visiting West Bromwich Albion on Jan. 21.