DICK ADVOCAAT will not read his players the riot act, despite Sunderland producing an epic 14-minute collapse against Crystal Palace.
For the second time in three Stadium of Light outings, Sunderland shipped four goals in a quick-fire burst after being blown away by Alan Pardew’s Crystal Palace today, to leave the feel-good factor from the Wear-Tyne derby in tatters.
Gus Poyet paid with his job when Sunderland were thumped 4-0 against Aston Villa four weeks ago, and successor Dick Advocaat picked his words carefully in his post-match assessment today, albeit the implication was clear that the Black Cats lack both quality and mental strength.
But Advocaat opted against laying into his players afterwards, knowing he has to pick them up for the remaining six games of the survival battle - starting with the trip to Stoke City in a fortnight.
“There is no reason to become angry with them,” said Advocaat.
“If I want to become angry, then there must be a need behind that.
“They tried to do their best and we have to improve.
“It doesn’t help if I start shouting at everybody because some are playing at their limits, there is no doubt about that.
“They showed against Newcastle if everyone knows what to do, we can get results. We have to do that against Stoke City.
“I don’t want to find excuses. I knew when I started it would be very difficult.
“We have to hope we can do something. We still have six games to go.
“At the end, always the teams that don’t get the points go down.
“We can still do it. We have to try to get the confidence back after today.
“Unfortunately we haven’t got a game next week, but we have to do it with this squad and we will do.”
Advocaat admitted he was shocked by the manner of Sunderland’s collapse in the second half after an opening 45 minutes when the two sides had played in a scrappy encounter, with minimal chances.
Despite the former Holland manager’s pre-match warnings about Palace’s pace on the counter-attack, that proved to be Sunderland’s undoing, with Yannick Bolasie helping himself to an 11-minute hat-trick.
“After 1-0, that was still nothing. You can still do something,” said Advocaat.
“But if you see the way we give chances away, I don’t like to criticise players individually, but that was not the highest level.
“You can see what can change in six days time.
“A good performance against Newcastle and today we were not in the game.
“Even the first half, Crystal Palace were already a little bit better side with the pace up front, the individual skills of the players there.
“They damaged us a little bit, despite it being 0-0.
“But we gave it away in seven minutes with three goals and then the game was over.”