VITO Mannone opened up on a devastating week after discovering his mum suffered a life-threatening stroke moments before Reading FC faced Bolton Wanderers.

The Italian shot-stopper was in line to face the Trotters last Tuesday when he received a worrying phone call.

Mannone rushed to the airport and flew back to Italy to be at his mother Elisa's bedside in hospital, where she remains.

However, the 29-year-old flew back to to face Sheffield Wednesday in Saturday's bore 0-0 draw at Madejski Stadium and said he will use football as a distraction.

"It was very tough," stated Mannone.

"My mum had a stroke, I received the bad news on Tuesday and I had to rush home.

"It's been very tough but I wanted to get back and help the team because that makes my mum proud.

"We are all hoping she can recover. It's very delicate and very soon, but hopefully she can make it through."

Mannone plans to remain in the UK until after Royals face his former club Sunderland on Saturday [December 2].

Jaap Stam's men then have a 10 day break when Mannone will fly home and visit his mother.

He added: "I'm hoping to go there after the Sunderland game and find her in a better condition than she is now.

"It's still very early and she is fighting for her life.

"I have been through tough stuff in my life already. I'm happy to be back playing football because that's what my parents always wanted.

"I need to focus on the game and put my emotions to one side. I need to be sharp for my team.

"She's still in hospital. She had an operation on her brain so we're waiting to see what the outcome is.

"We will monitor her and we will see what happens in the next 72 hours. The operation went well."

The 29-year-old had little to do on Saturday after the Owls failed to pose a significant threat.

But Royals' finishing was also below par after they failed to capitalise on a number of chances.

"The clean sheet is a positive sign," said Mannone.

"Obviously we wanted the three points.

"We searched for a goal but it didn't arrive. But we played well, we were patient because they were staying behind the ball.

"We had the most chances to win the game but we didn't get it, so that's the downside.

"We're looking for solutions, but the wins will arrive. And when they arrive we will be able to go on a good run."

Reading face Barnsley at Madejski Stadium tomorrow night (Tuesday, 8pm ko).