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Sunderland appoint Dick Advocaat to rescue season

Sunderland have appointed Dick Advocaat as head coach until the end of the season, the Barclays Premier League club have announced.

The 67-year-old Dutchman replaces Gus Poyet, who was dismissed on Monday after 17 months in charge.

A Sunderland statement read: "Sunderland AFC has appointed Dick Advocaat as head coach until the end of the current season.

"The Dutchman brings a wealth of experience to the Stadium of Light, with over 30 years in management at both club and international level."

The club moved quickly to appoint Advocaat after parting company with Poyet, whose final match in charge was Saturday's 4-0 home defeat to Aston Villa - a result which left Sunderland one point and one place above the relegation zone.

Advocaat has been in management for over three decades, including two stints in charge of Holland and was most recently coach of Serbia, who he left last year.

He has never managed in England before but did spend four years at Rangers between 1998 and 2002, winning the league and cup double twice.

Aside from Scotland, Advocaat has also won league titles in his homeland with PSV Eindhoven, and in Russia with Zenit St Petersburg.

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."

The Black Cats are next in Premier League action against West Ham on Saturday and the new coach is looking forward to getting started.

He said: "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."

Poyet took his final training session at the Academy of Light yesterday morning and was braced to be told of his dismissal.

The Uruguayan had hoped to fight on after the 4-0 home defeat by Aston Villa, but Congerton and Short, as well as the chief executive Margaret Byrne, felt that they had to make a change in order to avoid relegation to the Championship.

Sunderland have not been in the bottom three all season, but fell to within one point of the drop zone over the weekend thanks to Burnley's shock 1-0 win against Manchester City.

Poyet's relationship with Congerton has been poor for several months. The pair have clashed repeatedly since the end of last season over transfer targets and even though Congerton managed to deliver Jermain Defoe in the January transfer window - an arrival that Poyet claimed left him with "no excuses" if results did not improve - there was only a brief thaw in their relationship.

Irish Independent