Dick Advocaat appointed by Sunderland: Former Netherlands manager charged with avoiding relegation

The Dutchman has been put in charge until the end of the season following the sacking of Gus Poyet

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The Independent Football

Dick Advocaat has been appointed by Sunderland until the end of the season, charged with keeping the club in the Premier League.

The appointment comes swiftly after the dismissal of Gus Poyet who was sacked yesterday off the back of an embarrassing 4-0 loss to fellow relegation contenders Aston Villa.

Advocaat told Sunderland's website: “Sunderland is a big club and I am very much looking forward to the challenge ahead. We must now concentrate on Saturday as a priority and I can’t wait to get started.”

Sunderland chairman Ellis Short said: “Dick has an incredible CV and vast experience of managing at the very highest level. We have one aim only now - to climb the table and everyone is fully focused on the task ahead of us.”

Advocaat's last managerial post was as manager of Serbia, a position he left in November last year. The 67-year-old has not managed in England and his most recent spell at club level was with AZ Alkmaar, whom he left in the summer of 2014. He has enjoyed success in the British Isles, leading Rangers to back-to-back titles in 1999 and 2000.

Advocaat has been handed a short-term contract that lasts for the remaining nine games the club have left to save their Premier League status. His first match in charge of Sunderland will be against West Ham on Saturday. Zeljko Petrovic, who worked with Advocaat when he was Serbia coach and also had a spell with West Ham in 2010, has been named as his assistant. Former Swansea and England under-20 goalkeeping coach Adrian Tucker will also be among his staff and Sunderland academy coach Paul Bracewell will support the head coach and his backroom team for the final nine games of the season.

 

Sunderland have won just four of their 29 league games this season and are the second lowest-scoring team in the division, having mustered just 23 goals in a miserable campaign.

Poyet took over at the Stadium of Light after dressing-room disquiet led to the sacking of Paolo Di Canio, who in turn had been rushed in to preserve Sunderland’s Premier League status in March 2013, when there were seven games remaining. Poyet helped lead the club to safety, took Sunderland to a League Cup final and beat Newcastle on three successive occasions. However, his relationship with the board had never fully recovered after a bust-up following a heavy defeat at Tottenham Hotspur last season.

He also saw the disintegration of his relationship with the fans when he was critical of their desire for the team to play attacking football during a home defeat against Queen’s Park Rangers. For that the travelling support during the FA Cup defeat to Bradford mocked him. He wrote a letter of apology but it was indicative of his increasing isolation.

Poyet was never comfortable in the role of head coach and took great delight in revealing it had been his involvement in the January signing of Jermain Defoe that had been crucial, rather than Lee Congerton, the sport director.

The sacking of Poyet, who signed a new two-year deal at the end of May, means the appointment of Advocaat is the seventh manager Short has employed since he took full control of the club.

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Sunderland manager Gus Poyet at Bradford City’s Valley Parade ground for their FA Cup fifth-round tie last month. His team were beaten 2-0 by the League One club

 

Short released a statement yesterday following the dismissal of Poyet. “I would like to thank Gus for his endeavours during his time at the club, in particular last season’s ‘great escape’ and Cup final appearance, which will live long in the memory of every Sunderland fan,” it said.

“Sadly, we have not made the progress that any of us had hoped for this season and we find ourselves battling, once again, at the wrong end of the table. We have therefore made the difficult decision that a change is needed.”

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