Advocaat set to ring the changes


Published: Friday 20th March 2015 by The News Editor

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New Sunderland head coach Dick Advocaat has admitted something has to change if he is to drag the club out of relegation danger.

The 67-year-old Dutchman was unveiled at a press conference at the club’s Academy of Light training headquarters on Friday morning as he finalised preparations for his first Barclays Premier League game in charge at West Ham on Saturday.

Advocaat, who inherited a team sitting just one point clear of the drop zone, said: “In principal, every thing you do in football is a challenge and you want to do as well as possible. But we are now in a situation where we are playing more or less at the bottom of the league, so something has to change.”

However, the Dutchman, who arrived on Wearside after a spell as manager of the Serbia national team, admitted he is relishing the challenge of guiding a squad which faltered alarmingly during the latter weeks of predecessor Gus Poyet’s reign away from trouble.

He took up the reins on Tuesday and has had three days to work with his players, although he revealed few of them were strangers to him.

Advocaat said: “In Holland, we can see all the games in England – everything is on television, so I knew the squad, I knew the players, plus the fact that we have a great stadium and great fans.

“With the support of them, we must do it. I have a good feeling about the squad after the last three days, so why not?”

The Black Cats are without a win in six league games and seven in all competitions, a run which has plunged them into a second successive survival fight.

Advocaat needs all the players he can get his hands on if he is to engineer an escape, and he could have at least one more to call upon this weekend after the club lifted its suspension of winger Adam Johnson as a police investigation into an allegation of sexual activity with a girl under 16 continues.

However, Advocaat declined to reveal whether or not the 27-year-old, who had been training by himself after ban was imposed, will be included in the travelling party.

He said: “What I always do, I pick the squad after the final session. We still have some injuries, we don’t know exactly who will join us.

“Always after the last training, I will pick the squad so it’s the same for everybody.”

Published: Friday 20th March 2015 by The News Editor

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