Dick Advocaat: I share fans’ concerns over Sunderland full-backs

Patrick van Aanholt

Patrick van Aanholt

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Patrick van Aanholt’s continued troubles have loomed large in Dick Advocaat’s mind over recent weeks.

Advocaat’s fellow Dutchman has struggled at the start of his second season at the Stadium of Light, with the left-back culpable for several goals - two of which came in Sunderland’s defeat to Manchester City on Tuesday.

We think the same way as supporters. But to do it is different

Dick Advocaat

New signing DeAndre Yedlin’s promising debut against City had prompted Advocaat to consider whether to switch the on-loan Spurs right-back or Billy Jones to the opposite side of the defence in place of van Aanholt.

But Advocaat is conscious that Jones is much more comfortable at right-back, than left-back, while Yedlin is equally far more at home there.

“(Yedlin) has been here for a week and he’s done okay,” said Advocaat.

“I have to think about it, but if I change it, I have to put a right-sided player in there whose never played at left-back.

“We think the same way as supporters. But to do it is different.”

Advocaat is equally conscious over whether his 4-3-3 formation is the best set-up for a Sunderland side which has proved to be so vulnerable at the back during the opening exchanges of the season.

But he believes the jury has to remain out a little longer, before Sunderland try something dramatically different.

“We’re still trying to find the perfect system,” admitted the Dutchman.

“I like the 4-3-3 system definitely. But that takes time before you find out is the right system, or is he the right player?

“You cannot change that every week. You have to be sure if you do something, that it helps.

“So far, we are seeing that we can play some good football, but we give far too many goals away.

“Maybe some players have the wrong idea about first controlling the game and then attacking. Maybe some think we score, and then defend.

“But you can only learn that from talking to them and watching them.”