DICK Advocaat insists he understood the feelings of the thousands who headed to the exits early against Crystal Palace.
A crowd of more than 42,000 had headed to the Stadium of Light on Saturday hoping to see Sunderland build on their Wear-Tyne derby victory over Newcastle by further boosting their Premier League survival build.
I can understand the fans. I was not happy with that, but I can understand thatDick Advocaat
But, stunned by Crystal Palace’s 14-minute blitz, many decided they had seen enough and the stands duly emptied in a manner similar to Sunderland’s equally shambolic 4-0 Stadium of Light defeat against Aston Villa four weeks earlier.
Advocaat could not complain at that exodus though.
“I can understand the fans. I was not happy with that, but I can understand that,” he said.
“They are also very worried about the future.”
Advocaat opted against reading the riot act in the dressing room, with confidence clearly wafer-thin – testified by the subdued atmosphere among the players.
He said: “The players were very quiet afterwards.
“Every football player knows when you can say something or not.
“No-one said anything and that said a lot.
“It doesn’t help if I start shouting at everybody because some are playing at their limits, there is no doubt about that.”
The problem for both Advocaat and Sunderland is that they will have to stew on the defeat, with no chance to make an instant amends.
Sunderland are not in action again until the trip to Stoke City in 12 days’ time after this coming weekend’s scheduled trip to Arsenal was postponed due to the Gunners’ FA Cup semi-final commitments.
Fellow strugglers Burnley and Leicester can both narrow the gap with Sunderland this weekend, but Advocaat says the Black Cats can only worry about themselves.
He added: “When you lose a game, you want to play right away. Now we have to wait.
“But we can’t watch (what others do). We have to do it by ourselves.”