No panic from Dick Advocaat over Sunderland pre-season defeats

Dick Advocaat

Dick Advocaat

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Dick Advocaat insists there is no need to panic over Sunderland’s slow start to pre-season, despite another friendly defeat.

Sunderland succumbed to a second successive loss here in California this morning after the Black Cats were pegged back by Mexican outfit Club de Futbol Pachuca, following Jack Rodwell’s early strike.

However, Advocaat was all smiles afterwards, insisting these friendly encounters are purely fitness exercises working towards the Premier League opener at Leicester on August 8.

And the head coach stressed that the double training sessions which Sunderland have been routinely undergoing on a daily basis are inevitably taking their toll when it comes to the pre-season encounters.

Advocaat said: “Everyone wants to win friendly games - me too.

“But they are not important, otherwise I would have to train differently to what I do now.

“The day before the game we have been practising twice. Yesterday morning was very demanding.

“I’ve told the players that we have to work on the right shape so we know what to do at certain moments against Leicester, physically wise.

“The rest will then come if everyone is together. I have no doubts about that.

“It is not nice what you see because they are running and running and running, and not touching the ball.

“Normally if everyone knows what to do, we have the ball as well.

“You could see that was the difference between the two teams.”

Sunderland unquestionably looked jaded after a bright opening 20 minutes, against a decent Mexican side midway who are through their domestic campaign.

However, Sunderland will be boosted by the presence of Jeremain Lens, Younes Kaboul, Sebastian Coates, Adam Johnson and Patrick van Aanholt in Canada next week, ahead of the friendly against MLS outfit Toronto.

The quintet all flew to Toronto yesterday and will meet up with the rest of the squad today.

“Six players are coming to Canada, including (the injured Jordi) Gomez,” added Advocaat.

“We started well, the first 20 minutes, and then certain players didn’t do what they have to do.

“That’s when you get the problems.

“But I have no problem with that, honestly. This is not the first time I’ve done this!

“I’m focused on Leicester. By then, we need to be the fittest we can be for competition.

“The games are the best exercise you can get. I know it is good for us.”