SIMON Mignolet admits Sunderland must halt the slide in their Stadium of Light fortunes if they are to lift the mood on Wearside.
Sunderland suffered just two home defeats in 2010 as Steve Bruce’s men finished the calendar year well-placed to challenge for the European spots.
But 2011 has been a different story, with Sunderland registering just two victories on their own turf and losing eight games, including the opening encounter of this season against Newcastle.
Mignolet insists the derby defeat shouldn’t necessarily be a sign that Sunderland’s home form will continue to suffer, given Bruce’s side was ravaged by injuries over the second half of last season.
But after taking just two points from the opening three games, the Belgian keeper knows Sunderland must find some home comfort in back-to-back Stadium of Light outings against Chelsea and Stoke City.
Mignolet told the Echo: “We’ve only played one home game this season, but then again, we need to start putting some points on the table at the Stadium of Light.
“Last year, it was difficult because of all the injuries so we can’t look back to that too much. We have to move forward and look to build on the clean sheet from Swansea.
“We defended well as a team at Swansea and we’ll need to do that again. You need more than two or three players to play well to beat a team like Chelsea.
“It’s not an easy game against Chelsea on Saturday, but then again, last year we beat them away from home.
“If we play to our best, then we can definitely compete with them.”
Mignolet’s chances of appearing at next summer’s European Championships suffered a major blow on Friday night after he was beaten by an 86th minute equaliser in Belgium’s 1-1 draw in Azerbaijan.
It leaves Belgium a point adrift of second placed Turkey in Group A, with the latter boasting a game in hand.
With just two games left to play, Mignolet concedes Belgium’s qualification hopes are over.
“We have already lost too many points,” said the 23-year-old. “If we had won against Azerbaijan, it would still have been possible.
“Everyone is very depressed because we were on the verge of winning the game.
“But I felt that in the last few minutes, they were becoming more dangerous with their crosses and I had no chance with the goal.
“I’ve not lost in any of my games for Belgium, but it’s no consolation.”