Simon Mignolet

Keeper's praise for hitman

by Stuart Vose

Fletch is key, says Mignolet.

Simon Mignolet says having striking star Steven Fletcher at the other end of the pitch is a big boon for Sunderland’s back line.

Fletcher has made a stunning start to life on Wearside, scoring five goals in his first four Barclays Premier League games.

Steven can score goals and win games. He does exactly the same in training

- Simon Mignolet

That haul included the winner against Wigan at the Stadium of Light last weekend as Martin O’Neill’s men maintained their unbeaten start to the new campaign.

Mignolet’s primary focus is on keeping things tight in Sunderland’s own half and Fletcher’s finishing power – the frontman has converted all of his efforts on target this season – means there’s always a chance to win the points at the other end.

“We have been gaining points by keeping it very tight at the back and not giving away many chances, while at the moment Fletch gets one opportunity at the other end and scores,” he said.

“We have to be pleased with what he’s doing. If you look back at the goal against Wigan, it wasn’t an easy finish, but he made sure it was in the back of the net. Steven can score goals and win games.

“He does exactly the same in training all the time. He knows where the ball is going to come and is always in the right place at the right time. It’s something he has done throughout his career.”