Costel Pantilimon keen to maintain Sunderland’s revival

Sunderland goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon

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Goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon has urged Sunderland to embrace their tough set of fixtures during December as they look to maintain their recent improved form.

The Black Cats have recently recorded back-to-back victories against Crystal Palace and Stoke to move out of the Premier League relegation zone, but they face a daunting set of fixtures this month against the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool.

Romania international Pantilimon knows that it is crucial his side maintain their good form over the busy festive period, but he concedes it will be a tough test against some of the division’s top teams.

He said: “Winning back-to-back is vital in this league and it is important to keep winning as many games as we can. We know it is going to be tough in the next couple of weeks but we have shown that we have the quality.”

The 28-year-old was also pleased to keep two clean sheets during their recent successes and he believes maintaining a strong defensive unit will be crucial if they are to move further clear of the dropzone.

He added: “It was fantastic for the team and myself to get six points and two clean sheets. It is important for our defence that we don’t concede because we’ve been working hard and we have improved a lot.”

Next up for Sam Allardyce’s side is a trip to the Emirates to take on Arsenal on Saturday and they are outsiders at 12.00 to secure a victory with the Gunners available at 1.22 and the draw is on offer at 6.00.

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