Sunderland boss hopes to avoid Arsenal and Chelsea nerves

Dick Advocaat on the sideline as Sunderland returned with a 2-0 win away to Everton.
Dick Advocaat on the sideline as Sunderland returned with a 2-0 win away to Everton.
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DICK ADVOCAAT is prepared to chance his arm in today’s relegation showdown against Leicester to render next week’s trips to Arsenal and Chelsea as meaningless.

Victory against the Foxes, coupled with anything less than a win for third bottom Hull at Spurs, will mathematically guarantee that Sunderland are playing Premier League football next season, with two games remaining.

I thought it would go to the last day of the season, but we can change that by winning today because then we are more or less safe

Dick Advocaat

Advocaat has always said that Sunderland are capable of picking up points at the Emirates and Stamford Bridge in the final two games of the campaign after wins at Chelsea and Manchester United during the finale to last season.

But today’s encounter at a close to capacity Stadium of Light provides Sunderland with the most appetising opportunity to beat the drop and head coach Advocaat is prepared to go all-out for victory.

Advocaat said: “I’d like to do it today rather than against Arsenal or Chelsea.

“That doesn’t mean we have no chance at all in those games if we don’t do it today.

“But we will try everything to win this game and maybe we will have to take a few risks.

“I thought it would go to the last day of the season, but we can change that by winning today because then we are more or less safe.

“Even a draw today is not enough so we have to play for a win and that’s what we will try to do.”

Leicester have won six of their last seven games and are now on the verge of becoming only the third side in Premier League history to be bottom of the table at Christmas and still beat the drop.

Advocaat is well aware of the dangers that Nigel Pearson’s side pose, but remains confident that Sunderland can extend their winning run to three games.

He added: “Leicester play more or less a similar system to Crystal Palace so we know what we can expect.

“We have to be very careful with that against their quick players up front.

“He (Pearson) looks very bright and he knows what he’s doing, and if you win six out of seven, then you are doing a great job. But we will give them a very difficult time.”