GOALKEEPER Simon Mignolet admits Sunderland must do better if they are to prevail against Middlesbrough at the second time of asking.
The Black Cats head to the Riverside tonight with the winners of the Tees-Wear derby facing the incentive of an FA Cup fifth round tie against Arsenal a week on Saturday.
Boro have only won once in 2012, but shaded proceedings at the Stadium of Light 10 days ago before half-time substitute Fraizer Campbell spared Sunderland’s blushes with an equaliser.
Mignolet has warned Sunderland must improve tonight after seeing first-hand that Boro are no pushovers in the battle to seal the bragging rights.
Mignolet told the Echo: “Now we have to go down there and show we can get through to the next round.
“If you look at the first game as a whole, they were the better team in the first half when we didn’t do what we were supposed to do.
“But in the second half, we had the better chances, so maybe 1-1 was the right result in the end.
“In the first half, we didn’t start how we wanted to start and they got in front with a decent strike.
“Then you know it’s going to be difficult because they could camp in their half of the pitch and defend their goal.
“It was up to us to get the most of the game. Luckily Fraizer came on, did very well and scored a nice goal in the second half.
“The second half was a lot better and the most important thing was to stay in the hat.”
Victory for Sunderland tonight would set up back-to-back home games against Arsenal, with the Black Cats hosting the Gunners in the Premier League on Saturday.
More importantly, it would begin to generate renewed enthusiasm for the competition on Wearside with Sunderland failing to advance beyond the fourth round since 2004.
Belgian international Mignolet added: “It’s not only the chance to face Arsenal in the next round. Everybody wants to stay in the cup.
“It’s always a good game to play against Arsenal. But we can’t look too far forward because it will be a difficult game down at Middlesbrough.
“They’re playing at home and they will have a decent crowd behind them who will support the team.
“It won’t be easy, but hopefully we’ll get the result we need.”