Sunderland keeper Mignolet eyes Wembley heroics

Simon Mignolet
Simon Mignolet
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SIMON Mignolet hopes to earn the plaudits at Wembley, rather than merely ensuring Sunderland remain in the FA Cup.

Belgian stopper Mignolet’s double save to deny John Heitinga and Nikica Jelavic at Goodison Park on Saturday immediately sparked comparisons with Sunderland’s FA Cup hero Jimmy Montgomery.

Club ambassador Montgomery produced the most famous piece of goalkeeping in Sunderland’s history when he denied Peter Lorimer and Trevor Cherry at Wembley on the way to cup glory in 1973.

But Mignolet has rejected the comparison – insisting his razor-sharp reflexes will count for nothing if Sunderland don’t prevail in next week’s quarter-final replay against the Toffees.

Mignolet said: “I see Jim Montgomery quite often at the Stadium of Light and obviously everyone knows about those saves because they were so important. But we are only in the quarter-finals.

“It kept the team in it and they ended up winning the Cup. Everyone will remember him for that.

“Hopefully, I could do it at Wembley as well, but I don’t want to talk about that as we still have a difficult replay.

“The main thing is not about a few saves because they can get forgotten pretty quickly if you don’t get through to the next round.”

The 24-year-old (pictured) added: “The cross came over and Heitinga’s header was going just inside the post, but luckily I got a hand on it.

“Unfortunately, it dropped for Jelavic as well and all I could think of was getting up as quickly as I could. Luckily for me, he hit it into the side of my body.

“I was pleased with that.

“All you can do is make yourself as big as possible. But if we don’t get through, no-one will mention it again.”

Mignolet hailed the fighting spirit Sunderland showed after Everton cancelled out Phil Bardsley’s 12th-minute opening goal and piled on the pressure for a winner.

“You can talk about the save, but if Bardo hadn’t scored we wouldn’t still be in it either, so it’s not just about one person,” added the former St Truiden stopper.

“Everyone fought really hard, worked their socks off and getting a draw at Everton is a good result because it’s always such a tough place to go.

“No-one can be disappointed with how we played – we are still in it.

“Everton always fight really hard, but, for the first 20 minutes, we were the better team, until they came back at us.

“The replay won’t be easy either so, because of that, I don’t like to say we will back ourselves.”