Publish Date: Wednesday, February 19, 2020 3:44
Simon Mignolet has no regrets about leaving Liverpool and hopes to give the red half of Merseyside something to smile about when Club Brugge faces Manchester United in the Europa League.
After three years at Sunderland, the Belgian goalkeeper moved to Anfield in 2013 and made more than 200 games for the Reds.
Mignolet was part of the Liverpool team that won the Champions League last season, but, as so often in recent seasons, he was restricted to a summary of watching the Madrid final.
The 31-year-old returned home in search of regular football in the summer and joined Club Brugge, which hosts United in the first leg of their last clash between Europe and the Champions League on Thursday.
Asked if he had any regrets for making Liverpool even better, Mignolet said: “No, of course, because I knew very well that, before leaving, Liverpool would play a great season and be a challenge for titles, both in the market internal and external. in Europe.
"But I have said many times that I want to play week after week, and I have a chance to do that with Club Brugge now, so I am very pleased with that."
Mignolet will certainly be reminded of his connection to Liverpool by United's travel support on Thursday night.
The goalkeeper has yet to receive any good luck messages from his former teammates and will not accept Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's inconsistent side in Bruges.
"It's not me against Manchester United or playing against an English team," he said.
“It's Club Brugge against Manchester United and we have to play as a team and as a club to try to give us the best platform to play the second leg at Old Trafford.
"I said that before, Manchester United are a very good team. They are playing well. It will be an accessory; it will be a difficult challenge.
"And for our boys, it is a new challenge to face an English team in the European phase, so we are looking forward to it in the first place."
Mignolet is not sure which team United will deploy to Jan Breydelstadion after Monday's victory at Chelsea, nor is coach Philippe Clement.
The former Coventry player was an assistant manager when the teams met in 2015 when United's 4-0 win in Belgium completed a 7-1 defeat in the Champions League playoffs.
But Clement believes Club Brugge has narrowed the gap to United since then, with their team playing impressive in a Champions League group that Real Madrid and Paris St Germain have advanced.
"We have a young team, we are a club that also wants to invest in young players and these experiences, like in the Champions League, like playing against Manchester United, are very crucial for the development of all our players," he said.
"So I'm really looking forward to those two games to see where my youth team can end.
"They were not as consistent in the league, perhaps, but if I see the Europa League, they played six games and five games that didn't concede a goal.
“They only conceded two goals when they played against team C. It is not a team B, but a team C, so we remain realistic.
“We know what its strengths are, we know what its qualities are.
"But we are going to give a lifetime to get the best result from both games."