Sunderland’s Simon Mignolet: All eyes now on big derby

Simon Mignolet.
Simon Mignolet.
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SIMON Mignolet insists Sunderland’s first defeat of the season is no indication of their prospects in the Wear-Tyne derby.

Sunderland slumped to a 3-0 loss at Manchester City on Saturday lunchtime after barely troubling the reigning Premier League champions.

The Black Cats have struggled going forward all season and other than a Steven Fletcher header, which would have been ruled out for offside anyway, England stopper Joe Hart was a passenger, with Sunderland impotent as an attacking force.

But Sunderland keeper Mignolet, now with the Belgian squad ahead of World Cup qualifiers against Serbia and Scotland, says the visit of Newcastle on Sunday week provides completely different circumstances for the Wearsiders.

Mignolet told the Echo: “Joe Hart only made one really good save from the Fletcher header, but it’s a totally different game when you play Newcastle at home than away at the Etihad against Manchester City.

“It’s a different game and we’ll try to do our very best to get a result against Newcastle.

“We have to move on from this now. It’s a game away to Manchester City and that’s never going to be an easy one and we’ve got a very important home game when we come back from the international break.

“We can’t dwell on things and hopefully we come back fresh and fit and get a good result against Newcastle at home.”

Despite being beaten three times, Mignolet was one of the few Sunderland players to emerge from the Etihad with any credit after denying Carlos Tevez, Aleksandar Kolarov and Micah Richards in a dominant finale from the hosts.

But it was Kolarov’s free-kick just five minutes into the encounter which immediately put Sunderland on the back foot.

Mignolet did not feel he was at fault for the goal after being beaten at his near post, but admitted Sunderland were facing an uphill battle from that early blow.

The 24-year-old added: “I lined my wall up and he hitS it over the wall. If he hits it in the top corner, you can’t really say much.

“I spoke to Vincent Kompany (City’s Belgian skipper) after the game and he said he does it every day in training. He’s really good at that. But as a goalkeeper, you’re disappointed with any goal you concede. When you start the game, you want to do well, but if you concede an early goal, it’s even tougher.

“It wasn’t the best to start the game in that way and after that, Manchester City were on top for the rest of the game. From then on, they played some really good football and created some good chances.

We couldn’t really do anything about that.

“I don’t think my performance is really important. We lost the game, that’s the main thing and you can’t be happy when you concede three goals. City put us under a lot of pressure and pressed very high up the pitch.”

“But we weren’t at our best either.”