Dick Advocaat admits he has found this season “much harder” than his initial nine-game stint in charge of Sunderland.
There was fresh speculation over Advocaat’s future at the Stadium of Light last night after a tense pre-match press conference earlier in the day when the head coach was forced to deny reports that he would walk away from his position if Sunderland taste defeat against West Ham today.
Regardless of the rumours, Sunderland are still searching for their first Premier League win of the campaign and lie four points adrift of safety at the bottom of the table.
After keeping Sunderland in the top flight during his two-month stint at the end of last season, Advocaat expected the Black Cats to be in a healthier position this time around.
Yet the eight summer signings have not made the impact that Advocaat envisaged and he has found this season in the Sunderland hot-seat an uphill challenge as a result.
Advocaat told the Echo: “One of the reasons I came back – besides that I really liked it – was that I thought it would become a bit easier than the last nine games (of last season).
“I really expected that.
“But that’s not true. It’s much harder.
“I brought players in hoping that they can bring more, but so far, they haven’t done that.
“Players who are not playing now, I can understand why they are not happy.”
Advocaat decided to cut short the section of his press conference reserved for the national media yesterday after being repeatedly asked about his future.
The ex-Holland manager - who enjoys a far better relationship with Sunderland chairman Ellis Short than any of his predecessors - had said the reports that he would quit this weekend were “definitely not true”, but was then vague over the longevity of his reign when repeatedly asked.
“I will decide when I go, and if I get that feeling, I will do it,” he added.
“There’s all these reports about ‘if, if, if’. But there is no ‘if’.
“The fact is I’m here and I will do the game tomorrow. And then I will do the game next week (after the international break).
“But I don’t know what will happen next week, next month or what will happen in nine months. That’s football.
“I’m the one who takes the decisions about my future.
“If I felt I wasn’t the right person, then I wouldn’t be here now.”