SIMON Mignolet believes Sunderland’s Manchester City success shows the spoils on offer for troubling the defences of the Premier League’s heavyweights.
The Black Cats head to Chelsea on Saturday looking to register a second successive victory over a member of the top six.
Sunderland’s dramatic last-gasp New Year’s Day victory against leaders City was their first win against one of the title contenders for more than a year and provided reward for a dogged defensive performance from Martin O’Neill’s side.
But Sunderland crucially resisted the temptation to shut up shop against Roberto Mancini’s men – Nicklas Bendtner and Stephane Sessegnon both spurning clear-cut chances before Ji Dong-won grabbed the only goal in stoppage time.
Keeper Mignolet told the Echo: “It’s important when you play the top teams to not just sit back and hope for a 0-0. Eventually they always score.
“You need a few possibilities so they are scared to push themselves further forward.
“In the first half against Man City, we had a chance with Nicklas, then one with Sess and then obviously a goal.
“If you keep a clean sheet and you score one, you do your job.”
Sunderland will not be short on confidence at Stamford Bridge after four wins in five games.
The resurgence under O’Neill has taken Sunderland from the relegation zone to the safety of the top half of the table, with eight points now separating the Black Cats from the bottom three.
Mignolet insists O’Neill’s men are now only looking upwards rather than over their shoulders, as they look to take advantage of Chelsea’s faltering run of just one win from their last five Premier League games.
“We’re now a little bit clear from the bottom three, so it’s nice to have some breathing space,” added the Belgian, who has kept clean sheets in two of his three games since returning to the side.
“The results have brought some confidence into the team and given everyone a lift.
“When you’re hanging in there, struggling and only a few points above the relegation zone, you look down. But now we can look up again. which is a big difference for us mentally.”