Sunderland boss Gus Poyet has hailed the impact of Vito Mannone in recent games.

A summer buy from Arsenal, Mannone has become a firm favourite with the fans since taking over the gloves from the injured Keiren Westwood in November.

Poyet said; "Vito is a great story - one of the stories of the season.

"He came here, didn't think he would play, thought that Westie [Westwood] would be the number one.

"Then there was a change of manager and Westie's got injured against Hull in November.

"The only decision I had to make was in the next league game against Man City, when Westie was fit to play, even though he wasn't quite 100%.

"But Vito had played well in the second half against Hull and against Southampton in the cup.

"In a different situation, maybe Westie would have played against Man City, but I decided to stick with Vito and he has never looked back.

"He is one of the success stories of the season."