FORMER SUNDERLAND midfielder Bolo Zenden has backed Dick Advocaat to keep the Black Cats in the Premier League.
Stop-gap Sunderland head coach Advocaat has nine games to preserve the club’s status in the top flight after Gus Poyet’s final match in charge against Aston Villa last weekend left the Wearsiders just one point above the drop zone.
Advocaat’s someone who wants to fight for results and he can convince players to give everythingBolo Zenden
Zenden, who spent two years at the Stadium of Light during Steve Bruce’s tenure, knows fellow Dutchman Advocaat well, having coming through the ranks at PSV Eindhoven under him before eventually linking up again for their country.
And Zenden is confident that the 67-year-old can garner sufficient points during his short-term deal to achieve his objective of avoiding relegation.
“I have no doubt about it (that Advocaat will be successful)” said Zenden.
“And if Sunderland don’t go down then there will be opportunity for more (a longer contract).
“Advocaat’s someone who wants to fight for results and he can convince players to give everything.
“He is also someone who will listen to the players. He is not heavy-handed, but he can be tough as well and that is something they need.
“He has managed abroad too after building his reputation with Rangers.”
During Zenden’s time on Wearside, Sunderland enjoyed their most successful spell of the last decade - finishing 13th and then 10th under Steve Bruce.
But since then, the Black Cats have been involved in constant relegation battles, with Zenden hopeful that the club can now finally enjoy some success, with Real Madrid assistant Paul Clement the leading contender to take over the club in the summer, if Advocaat achieves his goal.
“Sunderland is a club with great potential,” added Zenden to Dutch website Voetbal International.
“It is a very nice club with a fantastic stadium and a fantastic training facilities and a good chairman.
“Hopefully this time they’ve not made the wrong choice
“It surprised me how angry the fans were with Poyet.
“But I left Sunderland when they were 10th, so I did not have to deal with relegation worries.”