Striking worries for Sunderland boss after Palace shocker

Dick Advocaat
Dick Advocaat
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DICK ADVOCAAT says Sunderland’s lack of goal threat is just as big a barrier to their Premier League survival as their defensive frailty.

For the second time in three Stadium of Light outings, Sunderland shipped four goals on Saturday after a spectacular second half collapse saw visitors Crystal Palace revel in a 14-minute blitz.

It’s a big concern that we didn’t create anything despite those attacking players.

New boss Advocaat was left stunned by the manner of Sunderland’s defensive disintegration, but was equally concerned by his side’s shortcomings at the other end.

Although Connor Wickham grabbed a late consolation, that was only Sunderland’s third goal in eight Premier League games.

Advocaat has deployed three strikers up front in his three games in charge – and then introduced Adam Johnson from the bench into midfield during the second half on Saturday – yet it still hasn’t prompted a dramatic improvement in Sunderland’s attacking potency.

“It’s a big concern that we didn’t create anything despite those attacking players,” said Advocaat.

“I see that we don’t create chances, even though we play with three-and-a-half strikers. That has to come from somewhere.

“Even when you’re playing with so many people up front, we don’t create something, so there’s something wrong in the squad.

“Now we have to find out how we can improve that.”

The only positive for Sunderland was that they remain three points clear of the relegation zone after fellow strugglers Burnley and QPR also suffered defeats over the weekend.

However, given the manner of Sunderland’s display, Advocaat agreed that he was worried when asked about their position in the relegation dogfight.

The ex-Holland manager stressed that the other men in charge of the bottom six sides will be equally concerned though, with Sunderland needing to keep their nerve and believe they can replicate their Wear-Tyne derby display over the final six games.

“I’m as worried as the other coaches who are standing in the same situation as we are,” added Advocaat. “But if we can do it against Newcastle...

“We are not the first team who got beat against Crystal Palace. They’ve beaten even better teams than us.

“But we have to believe in ourselves. We showed we can do something against Newcastle. If we start worrying, then we have no chance.

“You have to believe in yourself that you can do something.”