Dick Advocaat admits his original plan was to bring the curtain down on his decorated managerial career this summer.
But the success of his two-month spell at Sunderland has left him in two minds over whether to prolong his tenure at the Stadium of Light, or fulfil his original plan of retiring.
If you become a bit successful here as a team, wow, that’s what you work forDick Advocaat
When Advocaat agreed to succeed the sacked Gus Poyet in March, Sunderland’s plan was for the Dutchman to keep the club in the Premier League and then appoint a long-term successor at the end of the season.
Yet the dramatic manner in which Sunderland have beaten the drop has persuaded owner Ellis Short to usher in some continuity, with Advocaat similarly less concrete in his planning.
“I’m not going to lie, yes, I thought that would be it when the two months were up,” he said.
“But I felt quite early that this is a big club - 43,000 people always there.
“If you become a bit successful here as a team, wow, that’s what you work for.
“The facilities are unbelievable, a beautiful stadium, and if you can do a job like this at the final part of your career...”
The response of Sunderland’s players to his management has been a key factor in persuading Advocaat to re-consider his options.
Sunderland have taken 12 points from Advocaat’s eight games at the helm – including an unbeaten run from the last five – with the dogged commitment in the Black Cats’ ranks standing out.
That was epitomised in Wednesday’s stalemate at Arsenal which mathematically assured Sunderland of Premier League football.
Advocaat said: “What I saw on the pitch after the Arsenal game (the celebrations) was brilliant.
“That’s what you work and talk about for so many days.
“(When you take charge) you don’t know if the players accept it, if they feel the same as I feel. That’s the most difficult thing.
“But, from the beginning, we saw it at the training ground.
“That gave us the feeling we could do the job.”
It was especially sweet for Advocaat to avoid any last-day anxiety in the relegation battle, with Hull and Newcastle fighting it out for survival tomorrow.
“We were always waiting for the moment to know whether we were going down or staying up,” he added.