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'Good' Suarez strike surprised me, insists Belgian

Sunderland goalkeeper Simon Mignolet has criticised his side's defending in the build-up to Liverpool's opening goal on Sunday; branding John Mensah's challenge on Jay Spearing as 'stupid', which resulted in the visitors being awarded a penalty.

Kenny Dalglish's side, who won the match 2-0, were initially given a free-kick on the edge of the area following Mensah's challenge, before the referee's assistant flagged for a penalty, which was converted by Dirk Kuyt.

Despite replays suggesting that the Ghanaian's challenge was in fact outside the box, Mignolet conceded that the challenge was avoidable.

“The first 30 minutes, we started well, we put them under pressure and they had difficulties with us,” Mignolet told reporters after the game. “Unfortunately we get a silly goal after 30 minutes, a stupid penalty and everything ran down a little bit for us. They got better in the game, we had difficulties to create chances and at that point we lost the game actually.”

“It was a stupid penalty [for us to concede], which was a doubt, everyone thought we could get more out of it [the game] especially with the first 30 minutes, we played well and put them under pressure and they had difficulties with us,” continued the Belgian. “If we could do that in the whole game I don’t think we’d lose today.”

“In the first moment that I saw it I thought it was outside [the penalty area], obviously, the referee [thought that] as well but the linesman turned it around and made it a penalty. He was more away from the actual fault as the referee was so it’s a strange decision but he’ll take account for it."

On the penalty itself, the Belgian admitted that saving a spot-kick comes down to luck and he reiterated that his side were doubly unlucky to have had the penalty awarded against them in the first place as the challenge was outside of the box.

“You just have to be lucky and choose the right side and unfortunately today I picked the wrong choice. But I don’t think if you see how we played the first 30 minutes and then you concede a penalty then you can see how games change and that’s a little bit unfortunate for us,” he explained.

“On the other hand, if we scored in the first 30 minutes it was another game as well. We just have to try and get the next points as quick as possible because we’re still hanging around at the 38 [point] mark and we want to get onto 40 points.”

“After the penalty we have two injuries and we have to reorganise and it’s always difficult to get your shape again as a team,” he added.

If the first goal was dubious, the second was beyond doubt as Luis Suarez rifled past Mignolet from an acute angle, and the Sunderland 'keeper conceded the strike caught him unaware.

“I expect more a cross, obviously he’s right footed and then he smashed it in from a small, very small angle. It’s a good goal, sometimes as a goalkeeper you can be a little bit lucky and get a hand to it but it wasn’t today,” he explained. “I think we lost the game before that as well.”

“As a goalkeeper you always have to learn from those things and I’ll get the images again next week,” continued Mignolet. “I’ll see it again and get my remarks on it and I’ll learn from it and that’s the most important thing as a young goalkeeper.”

Mignolet had made a string of good saves up until conceding the second goal but he acknowledged that the result is more important than any individual performance.

“As a goalkeeper if you concede two goals at the end of the game you never can be happy. You live with the team, first thing and the most important thing is the result and your own performance isn’t particularly important. It’s more important to get the points back onto the table,” he said.

Asked if he would like to see video technology introduced to help avoid controversial decisions, Mignolet said: “Especially as a goalkeeper, if you see at the World Cup – you know what happens so as a goalkeeper you always want those things [video technology] involved in the professional game and the game we are in right now."

Sunderland’s poor run of form has seen them slip from a strong position in the table down to ninth in the league.

When asked if his side’s chances of qualifying for Europe were over, Mignolet said the Black Cats now need to focus on results.

“Well we don’t have to talk about ‘European hope’, we just have to make sure that we, like I said last week at Arsenal as well, we just have to make sure every single week, week out we have to try and get three points on the board and we don’t have to look towards the table,” he explained.

“If we look towards the table right now we will see we’re six points out of the bottom three so there’s no point at looking at the table,” he said. “We just have to make sure we try and get a result on the board every single week.”

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