VITO MANNONE insists Sunderland must not throw in the towel in the fight for survival, despite their failure to beat Norwich City.
Sunderland blew the opportunity to a secure a first Premier League win in six games on Saturday after Gus Poyet’s side could only manage a goalless draw with the Canaries.
The clash had been pinpointed as the one to get Sunderland back among the cluster of sides in the relegation battle, yet the Black Cats will be bottom of the table at Christmas, four points adrift of safety.
But despite facing a daunting trip to Everton on Boxing Day, goalkeeper Mannone says Sunderland need to dust themselves down and keep the faith that they can cause an upset at Goodison Park.
Mannone said: “You need to keep believing because that’s what takes you out.
“We beat Man City, Newcastle and Chelsea, so I don’t see why we should give up the fight.
“We’ve got another game on Thursday so we’ll roll our sleeves up against another big team in Everton.
“We’ll keep putting the full effort in. We might not win against Norwich, but we might win against Everton. You never know.
“A dirty win could do it. The ball goes in and then we’re all happy.
“It’s a big game, but we’ve shown we can play against team like that. We know what we need to do.
“But every game is a final. It was before, but even more so now.
“If you’re not winning games like Norwich at home, then you’re giving yourself a big task in the next game, and the next one, and the next one.
“It’s a big disappointment because we are better than that and we didn’t show it. It wasn’t enough.”
If it hadn’t been for Mannone, the outcome could have been far worse against Norwich, with the £2million summer signing making a string of impressive saves.
But the Italian took little comfort in his own display after admitting Sunderland were collectively below-par, just three days after beating title-chasing Chelsea in the Capital One Cup.
“I think we’re all in the same ship,” added the former Arsenal man.
“I tried my best to keep the team in the game, but at the end of the game, I’m a loser because we didn’t win.
“It’s a draw, but it feels like a big loss.
“I’m taking responsibility as well. I’m on the pitch and we all have to do better for ourselves.
“You have to realise that it’s our life. If I’m going down, then I’m going down and my team-mate is too.
“I knew that after winning in the cup against Chelsea, you think you’re somewhere.
“But I knew that this game was going to be even tougher.
“I’ve seen it myself with Arsenal. Sometimes you lose against small teams like Norwich and then beat the big ones.
“We need to be better than that to come out of this situation because otherwise we’re all going down - us, the fans, the club, everybody.”