With nine matches to play and just a point clear of the drop zone, Dick Advocaat has been thrown right into the thick of things at Sunderland.
Appointed as manager for the rest of the season following the sacking of Gus Poyet, Advocaat must immediately get to work and help keep the Black Cats in the Premier League.
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After managing top clubs such as the Netherlands national team, AZ Alkmaar, Zenit and PSV Eindhoven, this is the Dutchman’s first crack at managing in England.
Dutch journalist Marcel van der Kraan spoke to the BBC World Service on what to expect during Advocaat’s stint at the Stadium of Light.
Dick’s nickname is ‘The Little General’. He is a tough guy, he’s always had strict discipline. His discipline has been one of the key things in his coaching style over the years.
But he’s a very human person. He’s not a bully, he’s very close to his players. That’s because he was a good player for a long time himself.
Advocaat, like Louis van Gaal and Ronald Koeman, will lay down strong foundations because he believes in his own style.
He will not change, he will not adapt. He will walk into Sunderland from day one, make it clear to the players and say: ‘This is the way we’re going to do it, no messing about. If you don’t believe in it, get out.'”
The Black Cats haven’t won in the Premier League since January, and after an embarrassing 4-0 defeat to Aston Villa over the weekend, now sit just one point clear of the bottom three.
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Advocaat was only named manager for the rest of the season, but should he help turn things around, the Dutchman may find himself back in England’s top flight next year. For now, he must instill his ideas and discipline in his side as every point carries massive weight for both Advocaat’s and Sunderland’s futures.