VITO MANNONE says Sunderland must avoid taking “two steps back” after their shock victory at Everton.
Seven days ago Sunderland’s inability to secure a Stadium of Light victory over Norwich prompted plenty of doom and gloom over the Black Cats’ chances of remaining in the Premier League.
But Gus Poyet’s men proved their resilience by winning at Goodison Park for the first time in 17 years on Boxing Day to earn an unexpected boost in the relegation battle.
Goalkeeper Mannone insists Sunderland need to harness the momentum from that success though by earning back-to-back league wins for the first time this season at managerless Cardiff today (kick-off 5.30pm).
Mannone said: “Football is crazy. One day you are up and the next you are down.
“I knew it would be tough going to Everton, but when I said we must believe, thankfully all my team-mates did.
“We showed the character to go to a place where we haven’t won for so many years.
“Every game is tough in the Premier League, but we showed that we can win against the big clubs. Everton are not in the top six for nothing. They showed they have got quality, but we fought for our lives.
“We took the responsibility and it’s a great result. It’s a base. We have to make sure we don’t take two steps back.”
Weeks of friction between Cardiff owner Vincent Tan and manager Malky Mackay finally resulted in the latter being dismissed yesterday.
The Bluebirds have won just one in eight, yet with Sunderland failing to beat any of the teams around them in the table this season, Mannone says the Black Cats’ approach cannot be any different to Thursday.
The Italian added: “Cardiff is another tough game. We have to take it as if they are in the top four.
“They are fighting with us after losing on Thursday.
“But we need to believe. We may be bottom of the table, but if you don’t believe, you don’t get great results like the one at Everton.
“There’s no time to think about it really. It’s another massive game.
“We need to be positive and take Thursday’s game into it, without dropping our level.”