Mignolet: Gerrard exit adds pressure for Liverpool
Simon Mignolet has claimed the Liverpool squad are blanking out the "extra pressure" of having to win the FA Cup to mark the end of Steven Gerrard's career at Anfield
Following Wednesday's quarter-final replay victory at Blackburn, Liverpool remain on course to contest the Cup final on Gerrard's 35th birthday next month in what would be the former England captain's last appearance for the club before he leaves for LA Galaxy.
With a semi-final tie against Aston Villa at Wembley looming on April 19, Liverpool are favourites to progress to the final on May 30 and leave Gerrard with the prospect of lifting the Cup on his farewell appearance.
Goalkeeper Mignolet insists that the players cannot allow themselves to be distracted by the sentimentality surrounding Gerrard.
"No, nobody is talking about it," Mignolet said. "Stevie is the first one to acknowledge that. Before we speak about the final, we have to get through the semi-final. The only thing we can keep in mind now is how to get past Villa. Villa will be tough.
"But Stevie is the first to acknowledge that we can't have any extra pressure on the team. He won't let us think in a different way. We just want to focus on Villa and the game before that, against Newcastle."
With Liverpool's prospects of securing Champions League qualification fading, Mignolet admits that the Cup victory at Ewood Park was a crucial moment in the club's season.
"After the Arsenal and United games, we knew there was going to be criticism. We didn't have much time to think about getting back to positive ways," Mignolet said. "So, Blackburn was a massive game and we needed to respond." (© Daily Telegraph, London)