Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet is the latest to defend his team-mate Kolo Toure following the Ivorian’s moment of madness that cost the Reds victory against West Brom on Sunday afternoon, insisting that it would be wrong to put all of the blame on him.
A Daniel Sturridge tap-in had given Liverpool the lead against the Baggies, but when under pressure from the advancing West Brom attack, Toure played a pass across the edge of his own area that was swooped upon by striker Victor Anichebe to smash past Mignolet and level the scores.
While Toure can be easily blamed for the error, Mignolet has followed his manager Brendan Rodgers' lead by insisting that the team must shoulder some of the blame for not building on Sturridge’s opener, which would have given them a cushion should any mistakes like Toure’s crop up.
“Kolo is more than experienced to deal with those kind of things and it's not about Kolo, it's not about another individual, it's about the team,” said Mignolet.
“We have to do the things we do as a unit, all together. You win games, you lose games, all together. Every goal you concede is a disappointment, you have to accept those things. You play with 11 men and you lose with 11 men or you win with 11 men. That's how it goes.
“In the first half we did our jobs really well. We got up 1-0 and deservedly so. We played dominant football. In the second half they put us under pressure and we conceded. We have to move on from that and you take a point away from home. We've got a massive game against Arsenal next and we have to make sure we refocus on that.
“That's what you are going to get as a footballer. Not all the things always go your way and you have to accept that.”
Mignolet has been criticised himself in recent weeks for what have been deemed a string of below-par performances, but he did well at the Hawthorns, especially in denying Gareth McAulay from close range when the visitors led 1-0.
He puts his improvements this season down to facing the fearsome SAS combination of Luis Suarez and Sturridge in training each day, and says he is learning how to face opposition strikers from what he has to deal with in practice against the in-form pair.
“I see it day in, day out and I know what they can do to the opposition,” admitted Mignolet. “I know what other goalkeepers are in for and the quality Daniel and Luis have. Together it is unbelievable. It's nice to play against them day in, day out on the training pitch because they make me better as a goalkeeper. If you go one v one against either of them, as a goalkeeper you learn lots of things.”
Raheem Sterling, who further boosted his chances of an England call-up for the World Cup with another impressive performance, suggest that a drop in confidence could be to blame for Liverpool’s failure to hold onto the three points.
“The manager told us that we tried to play football and that's the most important thing,” said 19-year-old Sterling. “It's just one of those games where we lacked a little bit of concentration and they got back into it. Hopefully we can cut the mistakes out of our game and be right up there at the end of the season. We'll just pick up and go again for the next game. I still think we're right up there.”