SIMON Mignolet says Sunderland really must look to grind something out of their trip to Fulham this weekend rather than leave empty-handed, as they did at Goodison Park last Saturday.
The Black Cats won praise for their performance against fourth-top Everton but still left Merseyside with nothing after their first-half lead was rubbed out by two goals in two second-half minutes.
And goalkeeper Mignolet – who last night played the full 90 minutes in Belgium’s 2-1 friendly defeat in Romania – says that teams have to work incredibly hard to get points on their travels in the top flight these days.
“Anything away from home in the Premier League is an achievement because every side really does try to make the most of their home games,” said the 23-year-old (pictured).
“An away point is always a good one and we are in the middle of two tough away games, so getting a point here and there is no bad thing.
“Far better a point than nothing.”
The Belgian is not advocating parking the bus at Craven Cottage this Sunday though.
And he certainly wouldn’t complain if Sunderland’s play was as exciting and expansive at it was against Everton.
“Regardless of the fact that you might be happy to leave with a draw at the end of the day, you must not go into away games thinking you will just settle for a point,” said the man who has played every minute of Sunderland’s Premier League campaign so far.
“If you do that, I think you’re inviting defeat.
“It’s important to go into an away game feeling that you might force the break or two and get the victory.
“That way you can be positive and that’s how we try to be – we want to win every single game we can. But away from home every point you can get on your total is a pleasing one.”
If Sunderland are to get something from Craven Cottage, then Mignolet is likely to play a key role.
Only the top three sides in the league have scored more goals at home than Fulham this season and only league leaders Manchester United have scored more goals overall than Martin Jol’s men.
Mignolet, though, has been in excellent form all season, making a string of eye-catching saves as well as doing the bread and butter work required of a top keeper.
His displays in Sunderland’s lacklustre season so far has seen him among the very few Black Cats’ players to emerge with real credit in the opening quarter of the campaign.
But he says that he would happily trade personal plaudits for team points in the games ahead. “First of all, you want to win as a team. In second place, you look at your own form,” he told the Echo.
“From my own point of view, I can’t be disappointed with how I’ve played. But the form of a goalkeeper can always turn really quickly. So, for me, the next game is always the most important and concentrating on doing well in that.
“It is about us looking to put in good performances and get points on the board now, more than anything.”