Simon Mignolet has done a lot in the last year or so since replacing a struggling Loris Karius as the club’s number one goalkeeper. However, that stored up goodwill did not save the Belgian keeper from coming under a great deal of criticism after last week’s thrashing at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur.
The pear monger was directly responsible for at least one of the goals, and probably should have done better on all four goals that were conceded. While there has been talk all week about a defensive “shake up,” Mignolet’s head (or at least gloves) were not on the boss’s chopping block.
"Simon will play. I didn't think a second about changing this position.
"Could Simon have done better for the fourth goal and pushed it wider? Yes, difficult to defend [him]. It was a personal mistake, these things happen. We don't have to hide things like this, but we don't have to make things bigger
"A lot of things were really collective and yeah the second goal was individual, while Simon knows with the fourth goal, when he is there it would be nice if he could keep the ball a little more.
"But that was the first mistake I can remember from Simon in the last few weeks. In our world then people go for him. The criticism is harsh but that's how it is."
As frustrating as it is, Kloppo isn’t necessarily wrong. Mignolet probably is the best keeper for right now, even if Karius and Danny Ward might have higher ceilings (and play the kind of football we want to play).
He’s also not wrong to point out the collective defensive failures of this side. Our defense generally doesn’t concede a great deal of shots, but the ones they do are often high-quality, which puts whomever is between the sticks under considerable stress.
Hopefully Mignolet bounces back from last week, and puts together a string of impressive performances, including today.