Vito Mannone: League Cup victory can inspire Sunderland to winning run

Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone has called on the Black Cats to use the League Cup as a launchpad for their season after defeats in their opening two Premier League games.

Mannone, 28, was involved when Sunderland reached the final of the competition in 2013-14, beating Chelsea and Manchester United en route to a 3-1 defeat against Manchester City at Wembley.

And the Italian believes the game against Shrewsbury on Wednesday night presents the perfect opportunity to gain a morale-boosting victory.

Mannone said: "I was very, very happy with what we did in that cup run. I think it has stuck with the fans and with me, that Old Trafford night and making the final.

"It's an important competition where, from my experience, we started to play well. It was like a kind of training for the league, so it builds your confidence, it gives games to most of the boys in the team and if you do well, you do well in the league.

"We need to treat it like this, as a competitive game, as a league game again because we need to win on Wednesday if we want to win on Saturday. You can't do badly on Wednesday and do perfectly on Saturday."

Sunderland's need grew significantly on Sunday when, after a creditable display in defeat at City on the opening day, they went down 2-1 at home to promoted derby rivals Middlesbrough on Sunday having conceded twice before the break.

There were mitigating factors -- Moyes was without the services of Lamine Kone, Lee Cattermole, Jan Kirchhoff, Billy Jones, Fabio Borini and Sebastian Larsson through injury and lost skipper John O'Shea before the break. And with Younes Kaboul having left for Watford in the run-up to the game, Kone's future uncertain and the summer transfer market proving difficult, he had little choice to field a team low on experience.

Mannone added: "In the last week, you lose important players through injuries, whatever it is, I don't even know, so you find yourselves with different players, and the players who have just come in have to step in in a difficult game like today.

"The only thing we can do is work, as I have always said, work together, follow the manager. We don't have a long time -- there's another game on Wednesday. We have to win that, start to build our confidence and go into Southampton with confidence again.

"In the City game, we saw good things; in this game in the second half, you saw good things, so the only thing you need to do is do well for yourself and for this team and for the club."