SIMON Mignolet admits Sunderland need to develop more mental resilience after failing to regroup from their Liverpool misfortune.
The Black Cats suffered a third successive home defeat yesterday after their early momentum against Liverpool was lost once referee Kevin Friend incorrectly awarded a 32nd minute penalty.
Sunderland had already been forced into two early substitutions with Sulley Muntari and Kieran Richardson limping off with calf and hamstring injuries respectively.
And once Friend’s gut instinct was over-ruled by linesman Billy Smallwood to award Liverpool a spot-kick when John Mensah’s foul on Jay Spearing was at least a yard outside the area, Sunderland struggled to regain their focus.
Mignolet (right) said: “It’s difficult when you get a decision like that with the injuries on top of it. At the time, we were playing well and it’s hard to recover.
“The first 20 minutes, we started well and put them under pressure.
“Then we got two injuries and it’s always difficult to get your shape back after that. But it was a stupid penalty and everything went wrong for us after that. They got better and we had difficulty creating chances.
“You can see how the game changed after the penalty which was unfortunate for us.”
He added: “As a team you’ve always got to look at yourselves. From the first moment I saw it, I thought it was outside the area.
“Then the linesman turned it around and he was further away than the referee. It’s a strange decision.”
Mignolet was beaten a second time in audacious fashion with 13 minutes to go when Luis Suarez squeezed a shot inside the near post from an acute angle on the right-hand bye-line.
The Belgian stopper admits he was expecting the Uruguayan striker to cross and left his near post unguarded.
But the 22-year-old hopes he can study the video of the goal to learn from it when he returns from international duty, with Belgium set to take on Austria and Azerbaijan in two Euro 2012 qualifiers.
“I expected a cross because obviously he’s right footed,” he said. “But he smashed it in from a very small angle. It’s a good goal.
“I think we’d lost the game before that, though. As a goalkeeper you always have to learn from those things.
“I’ll have a look at the video when I get back from being with the national team and I’ll learn from it.”