DICK Advocaat admits Sunderland’s survival is the first time he has been moved to tears in his glittering managerial career.
Sunderland head coach Advocaat couldn’t hide his emotions after a goalless draw at Arsenal last night confirmed the Black Cats’ survival and left Hull and Newcastle battling it out for the final relegation spot.
But he admitted afterwards there was a “special reason” for his tears after guiding Sunderland to 12 points from his eight games in charge, when the Black Cats’ position in the dogfight had looked perilous.
Advocaat said: “They (the tears) came because of my friend Bert van Lingen (Sunderland assistant manager) because for 25 years we’ve done everything together.
“When he arrived on the pitch and started crying...I don’t need so much. He said ‘Let it go’, so I said ‘OK, why not’.
“We had nine games, five away including Chelsea and Arsenal.
“Nobody expected us to do it, but the team did it, together.
“We said straight from the beginning that it’s not about me, it’s about everybody involved, from the chairman to the people who work in the office, and the team.
“The easiest way to work with the team is by telling them what they have to do and we started that from day one and they believed in that.
“Nobody was expecting that we would do it here, against a great team on a great pitch.
“But if you can do it on your own, like we did, that gives me a special feeling.”
Sunderland knew that a point would be sufficient to beat the drop, and they understandably set up with a defensive mindset.
Yet the Black Cats enjoyed the better of the chances - Steven Fletcher spurning three glorious opportunities, while Patrick van Aanholt should also have scored.
“They have so much quality, Arsenal, that it can happen at any minute,” said Advocaat.
“Despite that, in the second half, we had some brilliant chances to score a goal and that gives you a little bit more.
“Now any moment there was the quality there (for Arsenal), but fortunately they did not do it.”