Simon Mignolet admits his spell out of the first team in December was difficult, but the Liverpool goalkeeper also labels it a beneficial experience.

The Belgian was named on the bench for the Reds' trip to Manchester United before the festive period, and remained as a substitute for the subsequent matches with Bournemouth, Arsenal and Burnley as Brad Jones started between the sticks.

However, the Australian sustained an injury in the first half of the Boxing Day visit to Turf Moor, giving Mignolet an opportunity to restate his claims.

Speaking openly with at Melwood, the 26-year-old explained how retaining a positive and determined attitude proved key in revitalising his season.

Mignolet has paid tribute to the support received from his fiancé, Jasmien, who urged him to stop 'overthinking' situations and play his natural game.

The stopper is also eager to highlight the help from those at the club's training base.

Recalling his spell out of the team, Mignolet said: "I look back to it only in a positive way. That's what I did when it happened. I told myself I could do two things; let my head drop or work hard and come back stronger.

"I am happy with how I reacted in that sense. I am happy I kept my head down and worked hard in training. I didn't speak to the outside world, I just kept doing what I can do.

"It's something positive to look back on, it was a new experience. The older you get, the more experience you get and through these kind of situations, you only come back stronger and more positive.

"It wasn't easy, but the manager, the coaches, everyone at the ground and the players helped me with it, so it's big credit to them as well for giving me their support. They helped me out and made sure I could do that [get back into the team].

"I didn't only have my fiancé at the time, but also people who work at the ground [Melwood] - they always kept believing in me. Then it was up to me to do it on the pitch and change things.

"We're very pleased with how things have turned around, but I am not one who wants to think about that. I am looking forward and I know that I have to keep doing what I am doing and playing how I am at the moment because things will otherwise be forgotten very quickly.

"That's how football goes - you're only remembered for your last performance. That's why I keep working hard in training and try to keep improving my game. Any stage of your career you can still improve and hard work will pay off in the end."


Mignolet feels the network of support was a key factor in sustaining his morale - and he has saluted those around him for not losing faith.

He added: "I can't really say I was ever lonely because I always have people around me who support me, believe in me and trust me, both in and outside the club.

"So it's big credit to them to stay behind me and believe in me. There is always somebody you can talk to, and I am also somebody who is very positive in that sense and I will never drop my head. You just have to get through it and work hard. That's the only thing you can really do in life."

Mignolet's form was the subject of praise from one of Anfield's most iconic goalkeepers of all time earlier this week as Ray Clemence spoke of his admiration for the stopper.

The Belgian admits he is appreciative of such words, but knows it is up to him to support the claims of a legend.

"To hear that from such a great goalkeeper, I am very pleased with the words he said," said Mignolet. "It's nice to hear it from him - and I respect him for coming out and saying it.

"I am very happy with it, but as I said, it is up to me to make sure those words will not be forgotten in the next game. That's why I have to keep doing what I am doing.

"Everyone is happy with how things are going. Obviously when you win games, the spirit and atmosphere in the dressing room is always good and the only thing you want to do is keep that going.

"There is no point looking back - there is still a lot to play for and we've got a lot of games coming up, big games, and everyone is excited about them. If we can keep doing what we're doing at the moment, it can be a good end to the season."

Mignolet's form has helped Liverpool become one of the land's hardest teams to break down in recent weeks.

Sunday's clean sheet at Southampton was the Reds' fifth consecutive shut-out on the road in the Barclays Premier League - a feat last achieved 30 years ago in 1985.

"I am very pleased with that [record], but clean sheets are achieved together with the rest of the team," Mignolet considered.

"Everyone has been doing their jobs really well in the defensive aspect of our game; we've been defending set-pieces really well, tracking runners, being hard to beat and working hard for each other.

"It's nice when you play away from home at Southampton, when you know it's going to be hard in tough conditions, that you stay together as a group. That's what we've done and it's been very pleasing.

"Also, away to Crystal Palace, that was a tough game for us, but we stood up and showed great character and spirit. That's what it's like at the moment - everyone is fighting for each other and long may it continue.

"I am the same as the rest of the team. We are very happy, both personally and as a team, with how things are going. I've always said I am the sort of guy who only looks towards what is coming rather than what's been.

"It's more important we keep doing what we've been doing, and do it in the next game rather than look back and think about anything that's happened.

"We want to do well in the next games - we've got Besiktas coming up and then after that Manchester City, and then loads of games after that. The only thing we're doing is looking forward and trying to keep our performance levels up there."