Jeremain Lens needs to follow Fabio Borini’s lead in his willingness to offer a defensive helping hand, says Dick Advocaat.
Lens and Borini were handed the wide roles in Advocaat’s favoured 4-2-3-1 system last weekend after the Sunderland head coach decided to use Jermain Defoe as the spearhead to the Black Cats attack.
He knows he still has to improve, but on the other hand, he is also the player with attacking threat in his gameDick Advocaat
But while workaholic Borini is happy to track back, it doesn’t come as naturally to Premier League novice Lens, with Advocaat still keen to see more defensive responsibility from the Dutch international.
“We needed a player (Borini) there that tracks back because that makes it easier for Patrick (van Aanholt)” said Advocaat.
“And Lens has to improve that too.
“He must do that, otherwise it brings the team problems.
“He knows he still has to improve, but on the other hand, he is also the player with attacking threat in his game - more than the others.”
Advocaat had previously said that Defoe could not play as a lone striker, but with Ola Toivonen in behind the England international, the 32-year-old enjoyed sufficient support in the final third, despite the 1-0 defeat to Spurs.
And after the quartet were used together for the first time, Advocaat was heartened by the first impressions of Sunderland’s new-look attack.
“I put Defoe in that position because we changed the system,” added Advocaat.
“I still think really he is a 4-4-2 player with a targetman who he plays alongside.
“He’s not a lone striker, I keep saying that.
“But because we changed things with Toivonen in behind him, it’s a different position for Jermain. They can switch.
“There were some excellent moments from the front four and that has to become better and better.”