London: Sunderland manager Gus Poyet was full of praise for goalkeeper Vito Mannone’s match-winning heroics as the Black Cats grabbed a vital 1-0 at Everton on Boxing Day.
The Italian stopper pulled off numerous top draw saves as the Toffees piled on the pressure in the second half, and his coach was clearly delighted with his display.
Ki Sung-Yeung will no doubt grab the headlines for his solo part in the goal - the South Korean international dispossessed Leon Osman and then drew the foul leading to Tim Howard’s red card before cooly slotting the resulting penalty away.
But despite his midfield maestro’s display, Poyet was keen to highlight just how good Mannone was in offering Sunderland a lifeline in their bid to beat the drop.
“Our keeper was outstanding. Sometimes strikers get all of the credit, sometimes you need your keeper to win you the game and today Vito won the game for us," he told reporters.
"We needed him. Everton are the best team we have played against, even with ten. I’ve got no doubts.”
Poyet went on to describe the win as the ‘best present you could have given me`, but admits he needs to address Sunderland’s inability to pick up points from the sides around them.
“I have no explanation for that," he continued. "I think it is us, we cannot blame anybody. We’ve had chances to beat teams around us. We need to change that if we want to stay up, starting at Cardiff on Saturday.”