Simon Mignolet

Bardsley praises super stopper

by Stuart Vose

Keeper earns plaudits on 100th appearance.

Phil Bardsley praised Simon Mignolet after the keeper produced another excellent display on his 100th appearance for Sunderland.

The Belgian international made a string of key saves before his side took the lead through a Bardsley goal – his first of the season.

Mignolet could do nothing about Jason Puncheon’s equaliser but preserved a point with a super save to deny Rickie Lambert late on.

“We know what Simon’s capable of; he’s pulled us out of the deep end sometimes – as I say he’s a fantastic goalkeeper,” Bardsley said.

“I was delighted to get on the scoresheet, but disappointed that we only got a draw – I thought we were going to go on and win the game.

“When we scored I thought we built confidence on that and, as I say, it’s disappointing [not to have won].”

Bardsley admitted Sunderland came up against tough opposition in Southampton, who carved out a number of chances only to find Mignolet in fine form.

The defender felt his side were below-par in the first half but says the introduction of Connor Wickham at half time helped to turn the tide a little.

“Southampton are a good team; obviously the manager has got them playing some good stuff.

“We just couldn’t get going and the more the game went on the more difficult we found it – in the first-half we couldn’t get the ball down and play.

“It was a bit of a sloppy first half from ourselves and knew at half-time we had to step the tempo up.

“I thought we did that with Connor coming on – he looked lively considering he’s been out for a number of weeks.”