SIMON Mignolet has thanked the Sunderland supporters for fully backing him after he made the biggest mistake of his career.
The goalkeeper sought no excuses for the way he fumbled what was an easy ball to collect to allow West Brom striker Shane Long to score his side’s second goal during Saturday’s 4-2 home defeat at the Stadium of Light.
Mignolet’s name was chanted by the Sunderland support following his uncharacteristic mistake, something that the keeper appreciated.
He said: “It’s always bitter when something like that happens. First of all I have to thank the fans for the reaction around the stadium afterwards. There are two things that can happen when you do things like that.
“The players and fans can get behind you because they know what you have done for them in the past, or they can get on your back. What happened was that they all got behind me.
“I really appreciate it and I thank them all for that. There’s another game on Tuesday and that’s what a goalkeeper’s life is.
“You are only as good a goalkeeper as the last game you play. We have another on Tuesday and I will look forward to that.
“It doesn’t stop the bleeding, no matter how I have done in
the past. You don’t want things like that to happen. You know it can but you can’t do any more about it. You learn from it.
“It probably will be the worst mistake I will make, hopefully, particularly because of the stage it was at. I have never made a big mistake like that before. I have made mistakes but not like that here at Sunderland but I have to get over it.”
Mignolet found it hard to explain exactly what happened when, as he went to collect a mishit pass when Long was five yards from him, he didn’t manage to hold on to the ball.
The Belgian international said: “I can’t even say anything about it. That’s what football is. Anything can happen in a split second.
“That question is the one that will be in my head, spinning round.
“But I can’t dwell on it. There’s another game on Tuesday now against QPR. When I went in the dressing room for half-time that helped because I had a bit of time to switch off. I was pleased with how the second half went.
“I didn’t lose my confidence that is more important than what happened in the first half. There’s plenty big games this year still to play.”
Sunderland must beat bottom of the table QPR – who haven’t won a league match this season but will have Harry Redknapp in charge – at the Stadium of Light tomorrow night. Defeat would heap massive pressure on manager Martin O’Neill and his players, who were booed off the pitch at the weekend.
Mignolet said: “We knew that Tuesday would be a big game no matter what the scoreline was going to be against West Brom. We can’t make any more about this defeat than it actually is.
“It’s a defeat. We have lost three points and that’s what it always is. Nothing more, nothing less.”