Saturday 25 November 2017

Advocaat: If I stay at Sunderland, I'll be divorced

Everton 0 Sunderland 2

Sunderland manager Dick Advocaat's side were lucky to pick up all three points against Everton on Saturday
Sunderland manager Dick Advocaat's side were lucky to pick up all three points against Everton on Saturday
Danny Graham celebrates scoring Sunderland's first goal against Everton yesterday
Jermain Defoe celebrates after scoring the second goal for Sunderland

Tim Rich

If Sunderland hoped the Dick Advocaat effect would last beyond the end of the season, they are likely to be disappointed. The man who has overseen what appears to be the club's latest successful attempt to avoid relegation joked that his marriage would be at risk if he continued any longer than the nine matches he was given to save the club.

"No, no, no I'll get a divorce," he said, when asked if he could see himself carrying on. "This is my last job. I have had a great career and won a lot of prizes and am really enjoying what I am doing now. Hopefully, we will stay up - if not I will still have enjoyed my time at Sunderland."

After Saturday's 2-0 win at Everton, which was against the odds, the run of play and every other statistic the game cared to throw up, the likelihood is that Sunderland will cling on.

It will be tight. They have a game in hand - against Arsenal - over the other clubs jostling to avoid the final relegation place, but their season finishes at Stamford Bridge. However, should they overcome Leicester City on Saturday, it will give them 39 points and it would be hard to imagine Hull City matching that.

Had Sunderland escaped with the panache they displayed last season when they become the second club to avoid relegation after being bottom of the Premier League at Christmas, perhaps Advocaat could have been tempted into a final fling. However, aside from Jermain Defoe's stunning strike that presented Sunderland with victory in the Tyne-Wear derby, this has been a fairly grim slog to the finish line. Of their two other victories, the one against Southampton was secured by two penalties while that at Goodison Park came about thanks to two deflected shots - one off a centre forward, Danny Graham, who had not scored for the club since being signed by Martin O'Neill two years and four managers ago.

Advocaat admitted his team had been lucky to leave Merseyside with three points. It is not much of a foundation for a radical rebuild and, asked if keeping Sunderland up would rank among his finest feats, Advocaat laughed: "No. I have won 15 titles."

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