Dick Advocaat keen to let his players do the talking, with safety in sight for Sunderland

Dick Advocaat
Dick Advocaat
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AFTER the final whistle thousands of Sunderland fans stayed behind to congratulate the players on staying up.

Sadly, it was the Leicester City squad - led by Nigel Pearson - that was being applauded off at the Stadium of Light after the goalless draw proved enough for the Foxes.

Adam Johnson in action for Sunderland against Leicester City.

Adam Johnson in action for Sunderland against Leicester City.

It was a nice touch by a large section of the home crowd, who had arrived a couple of hours earlier hoping and praying they would be cheering their own side’s safety.

That wasn’t to be.

But the point, at least, pushes them three points clear of third-bottom Hull City with away trips to Arsenal and Chelsea to come.

Dick Advocaat’s side have a game in hand over their relegation rivals with Hull facing Manchester United in their last game and Newcastle United doing their best to get relegated, so it would take something special for the Black Cats to go down now.

A man of few words, he knows the job of keeping Sunderland up is not yet complete and would rather his players do the talking on the pitch, for now.

But they still aren’t mathematically safe, despite extending their unbeaten run to four games.

And Advocaat was keen to keep things brief in his post-match press conference with the nationals and agencies.

Advocaat, who had already done a round of television and local media interviews, was in the room for around four minutes.

A man of few words, he knows the job of keeping Sunderland up is not yet complete and would rather his players do the talking on the pitch, for now.

His style is in stark contrast to Pearson, who loves to chat, it would seem, speaking for just over 15 minutes.

Probably a bit too much at times for his press officer’s sake, following his bizarre ‘Ostrich’ rant following their recent defeat to Chelsea.

But his manner and tone was altogether more relaxed in the bowels of the Stadium of Light on Saturday teatime.

Helped, of course, by the fact he had just overseen a remarkable Leicester turnaround that sees them safe against all the odds.

Pearson, in his tracksuit, is a very different type of manager to the more experienced, suited and booted Advocaat.

Advocaat’s nickname of “The Little General” is similar to his style of management; a disciplined, no-nonsense approach where everyone knows their role.

Yet, despite missing the chance to guarantee safety in their final home game, Advocaat remained relatively upbeat and even jovial post-match.

His mood pre-match will have been helped after receiving a ringing endorsement from chairman Ellis Short in his matchday column.

Short wrote: “At this club, it is not like us to survive simply by the actions of other teams but to fight hard to earn our place in the top-flight and I am pleased to say that the team, under the inspirational and expert guidance of Dick Advocaat, is doing just that.

“When Dick was appointed we were confident that his wealth of experience would stand us in good stead, and we have seen the effect he and his backroom team have had, both in terms of performances and results.”

Fingernails were at a premium at the Stadium of Light and the trip to Arsenal will be another nail biter.

But safety is in sight and Advocaat’s side should have enough.

You probably won’t be able to shut him up then. But I wouldn’t hold your breathe.