Dick Advocaat says he has to shoulder the blame for Sunderland’s dreadful start to the season, even if he privately has an idea behind the club’s long-term troubles.
Sunderland are in the midst of an inquest just two games into the season after defeat to newly-promoted Norwich City prompted Advocaat to hold an open team meeting with his squad at the Academy of Light yesterday.
If we keep playing this way, we have no chance at all and I don’t want thatDick Advocaat
Supporters turned their anger on chairman Ellis Short during the 3-1 loss against the Canaries after a summer of modest spending in the transfer market, following three successive years of battling relegation.
Advocaat, himself, has grown frustrated by the need for an injection of quality to the squad, with the 67-year-old now the firm favourite with the bookmakers to be the first Premier League boss this season to leave his post.
But while Advocaat has his theories behind Sunderland’s annual struggles, he believes he has to look at himself for the way the Black Cats performed in back-to-back defeats against Leicester and Norwich.
Advocaat said: “I have a feeling and an idea (behind the club’s long-term problems), but I have to discuss that with other people.
“I have to be diplomatic because I cannot blame anyone. I have to blame myself as well.
“You have to find a solution one way or the other, and I will do what is the best for the club.
“But I cannot go on this way, it’s quite simple.
“I have to find a solution for this team. If we keep playing this way, we have no chance at all and I don’t want that.”
The repeated chants of “Are you watching Ellis Short?” were the first time that the Sunderland chairman has been criticised so publicly during his seven-year stint in charge of the club.
But Advocaat was keen to stress that Short wasn’t responsible for another awful display from Sunderland, in a game where they were supposed to produce a response from the opening day hiding at Leicester.
Equally, Norwich have not spent much more than Sunderland in the transfer market this summer, yet displayed the cohesion sadly lacking in Advocaat’s side.
“With all respect, you cannot blame the president,” said Advocaat.
“I have to blame myself and the players have to blame themselves.
“Otherwise we have to change something, it’s as simple as this.
“This team was capable enough to get a good result against Norwich.
“If you take the nine games from last year, they showed they could do it against Leicester away and Norwich at home.
“But this is another team.”