Sunderland ready for Stoke test – Mignolet

Simon Mignolet
Simon Mignolet
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SIMON MIGNOLET says Sunderland’s resilience against aerial bombardment this season should serve them well at Stoke City on Saturday.

Goalkeeper Mignolet stresses that no two games are carbon-copies in the Premier League.

But the Belgian accepts that Saturday’s opponents Stoke will unleash the direct approach which mirrors the one Sunderland have already experienced this season against West Ham and Newcastle.

Sunderland’s defence was only breached at the death by Kevin Nolan in their 1-1 draw at Upton Park last month after a succession of high balls following Steven Fletcher’s opener.

And although Sunderland struggled as an attacking force against Newcastle, Mignolet was barely test against the towering Magpies forward line of Demba Ba and Shola Ameobi.

Mignolet told the Echo: “You know what to expect from Stoke. It’s a bit similar to Newcastle and a bit similar to West Ham.

“It’s going to be direct and we know we’ll have to defend our own box well.

“Every game is different in the Premier League. But we defended really well at West Ham and did so again against Newcastle, so we shouldn’t be worrying about it.

“Hopefully we can get some points now over the next couple of games. Then there’ll be everything to play for.”

Mignolet is confident that Sunderland can harness the momentum from their late leveller in the Wear-Tyne derby in a run of seven games which sees them face just one of the current top four.

Although the 24-year-old readily admits Sunderland needed to do more against the 10-man Magpies, he believes Martin O’Neill’s men have been buoyed by avoiding calamity against their neighbours.

“To avoid defeat in the derby is always good because otherwise you leave yourself in trouble,” added Mignolet.

“We can still move on from that and definitely get a result at Stoke on Saturday.

“By avoiding defeat and getting a point, it means we can go to Stoke still confident, otherwise everyone would have been disappointed if we’d lost.

“Now we can build on it in the next couple of weeks ahead.”

The former St Truiden man added: “We were happy to get that equaliser at the end against Newcastle, but, on the other hand, we were disappointed we didn’t get the three points.

“Obviously we wanted to test their goalkeeper a bit more in the second half.

“But when they’re defending with 10 men in front of their goal, it’s not easy.

“You have to put crosses into the box and you just need a ball to drop.

“In the second half, I thought we were the better team.

“But a point is always good. We’re happy considering we were losing 1-0 at half-time.”