Saturday 22 October 2016

Mignolet to keep it quiet

Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet insists he'd prefer a quiet night against Sevilla tomorrow night to the one Jerzy Dudek had when Liverpool won the European Cup back in 2005 Photo: PA
Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet insists he'd prefer a quiet night against Sevilla tomorrow night to the one Jerzy Dudek had when Liverpool won the European Cup back in 2005 Photo: PA

Simon Mignolet has no desire to be Liverpool's hero in the Europa League final despite earning praise from former Reds goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek.

Dudek was the star in Liverpool's famous penalty shoot-out victory over AC Milan in 2005 in Istanbul, the Reds having recovered from a 3-0 half-time deficit.

The former Poland international, who replicated Bruce Grobbelaar's 'spaghetti legs' for the penalties, stopped efforts from Andrea Pirlo and Andriy Shevchenko having also denied the Ukrainian with a memorable double-save in extra time.


Dudek last week hailed the current Liverpool goalkeeper but Mignolet wants to avoid the spotlight in Basel against defending champions Sevilla tomorrow evening.

He said: "I know Dudek spoke well about me. I want to thank him for that as he was one of my heroes when I was younger because of what he did in that Champions League final.

"One thing I'd like to make clear is that I don't want to be a hero in the final, I don't think it's important for any individual to do that.

"Of course people will decide games like any other but what is most important to me is that we win the final. It doesn't matter in what kind of way.

"Winning the final is all important. Being the hero doesn't make any difference to me.

"It can go to extra time and penalties and then of course I would get the chance to help the team and be decisive but hopefully we can win it inside 90 minutes." Mignolet watched Dudek's 2005 heroics in the garden of the family home and they have stuck with him ever since.

If it does come down to penalties, however, there will be no antics from the straight-laced Belgian.

"Dudek didn't only make great saves in the shoot-out but he made a few before that," he added. "The final could have been finished before penalties but for his double save from Shevchenko and then he put the strikers off in the shoot-out and delivered for his team.

"I've seen what Grobbelaar did against Roma too but I don't think I've got the shaky legs!

"There is so much pressure on the penalty taker so I suppose anything that puts him off will help."

Liverpool have already lost one penalty shoot-out this season after Manchester City beat them in the League Cup final at Wembley in February.

It was an experience which could stand the team in good stead in Switzerland, however the match is concluded.

"Kolo (Toure) did say to me after the League Cup final that you have to go through these experiences before you win," Mignolet said. "He is the most experienced voice in the dressing room so you listen to what he says, and he usually sits next to me on the coach. We know we can save our season by winning this trophy. Liverpool has a history of winning trophies both domestically and in Europe.

"We went to the final of the League Cup this season and lost in the cruellest way but now we have a great chance to win the Europa League and qualify for the Champions League, which would be a massive boost for the club and for the young players in the squad."

Winning the final is Liverpool's only route back into Europe as qualification via their Premier League place was ruled out by the 1-1 draw at West Brom in their last match on Sunday.

"People don't always speak about the Europa League in the highest terms but for me, and for most people on the continent, it is a major tournament," said Mignolet.

"The teams we've played against on the way to the final - Manchester United, which is always an important derby, Borussia Dortmund, because of the gaffer, and Villarreal, who are a very good side and fourth in La Liga - are all worthy of playing in the Champions League.

"That has made the Europa League a bigger competition this year."

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