Jermain Defoe says the Sunderland dressing room are united in wanting Dick Advocaat to remain as Black Cats head coach.
Advocaat has steered Sunderland to Premier League survival after taking 12 points from eight games since inheriting a side which was sleep-walking towards relegation.
Obviously there was a lot of pressure, but we always tried to remain positiveJermain Defoe
However, the Dutchman’s short-term contract expires at the Stadium of Light after this weekend’s final game of the season at Chelsea, with doubts over whether he will be willing to prolong his first taste of the Premier League.
But while Sunderland’s hierarchy are keen to keep hold of Advocaat, so too are the players after the dramatic impact he has made during his brief tenure.
January signing Defoe told the Echo: “It would be nice if he could stay.
“I think all the lads would like him to stay.
“But, at the end of the day, it’s down to him.
“It’s his decision and we’ll see what happens.
“But if he does stay, it will be good for the football club.”
Sunderland knew that a point in last night’s clash at third-placed Arsenal would be sufficient for them to mathematically confirm their survival.
That made the stalemate at the Emirates a horribly nervy spectacle, yet Sunderland produced a magnificent rearguard action, and actually enjoyed the better of the chances.
Defoe admits Sunderland’s players began to feel the anxiety heading into the game’s finale, but was delighted that the Black Cats have secured their survival before the final day of the season. “Obviously there was a lot of pressure, but we always tried to remain positive,” he added.
“We knew before the game that a point would be enough.
“It’s not always easy going into a game knowing that a point will be enough.
“People might think it’s easy to just defend, not score, but it’s difficult at a place like Arsenal. There’s not many teams who will go there and stop Arsenal scoring.
“But credit to the boys and everyone involved. We’ve got rewarded.
“Towards the end, we could feel the tension, and when we won the ball back, you try to create something, but you’ve got to be clever.
“It was a one-off game, and we’re just delighted.”
Sunderland captain John O’Shea heaped praise on head coach Advocaat, saying: “It’s fantastic.
“I saw a Sky advert for survival Sunday and Sunderland featured on it and I thought ‘oh my God we have to get away from that’. The manager has been brilliant.”