Dick Advocaat has tried to keep his counsel as much as possible during Sunderland’s pre-season programme.
This time last year, Gus Poyet tried to cash-in on his popularity on the terraces by publicly piling pressure on Sunderland’s hierarchy to spend.
Poyet was clearly trying to stir up a storm in calling for more and more signings, with a series of unsubtle digs at newly-appointed sporting director Lee Congerton.
But Advocaat has taken a different tack; preferring not to get involved in the transfer circus which dominates at this time of year and again opting not to speak to journalists after Sunderland’s 2-0 friendly defeat at Doncaster.
It’s not a snub from Advocaat. After his highly-decorated managerial career, he clearly just wants to see his team do their talking on the pitch.
Yet while it was better in terms of performance from Sunderland at the Keepmoat Stadium, it still culminated in a third defeat in five friendly outings for the Black Cats.
At least there were positives for Advocaat though – chiefly debuts for new signings Younes Kaboul and Jeremain Lens, with the latter proving to be the stand-out performer for the visitors.
“The fitness has to be there, but it was a poor result,” said Advocaat in a brief post-match assessment on the club website.
“But hopefully on Saturday we can show how far we are with our progress when we face Hannover.
“The fans were excellent again and came down in their numbers, making a long journey to back their team for 90 minutes.
“So hopefully, we can reward their loyal support over the course of the season.
“Everybody could see how well Jeremain played, and Kaboul also did very well when he came off the bench for the second half.”
Defeat at Doncaster leaves Sunderland with just one remaining pre-season encounter – Saturday’s trip to Bundesliga outfit Hannover 96 – ahead of the Premier League opener at Leicester on August 8.