Belfast Telegraph

Advocaat ready to win ugly

Dutchman Dick Advocaat is ready to abandon his Total Football philosophy if winning ugly helps keep Sunderland in the Barclays Premier League.

The vastly-experienced former Netherlands, PSV Eindhoven, Rangers, South Korea and Russia coach presided over his first match in charge of the Black Cats at West Ham on Saturday, when his luck was out as Diafra Sakho netted a winner for the Hammers with just two minutes left.

Sunderland head into the international break just a point above the drop zone, but Advocaat will put the extra-time with his squad to good use in preparing for the small matter of a showdown with local rivals Newcastle at the Stadium of Light on Easter Sunday.

The 67-year-old, who recalled Spanish midfielder Jordi Gomez and put Connor Wickham on the left side of a front three, intends to do whatever it takes to guide Sunderland to safety.

"I said the only important thing in the final eight games is winning, the way that we do is not important, so if we win games very ugly I like that, (we can) play very negative if the need is there," Advocaat said.

"I have seen a team who likes to work, so I am pleased.

"It showed that if you work as a team and not an individual, I am sure that you get the luck you need.

"Now I have time to see my best line up."

Advocaat knows the importance of local bragging rights from his time at Ibrox, where he won the 1998/1999 Scottish domestic Treble in his first season

"In the home game in derbies, that gives a big advantage," he said.

"Tactically we withstood well (against West Ham), though we didn't create a lot of chances, but in a home game with our fans behind us we can do even better."

Advocaat added: "Now for us every game is important as we need points and the next game, Newcastle, is the most important thing."

Sunderland will be hoping for positive news on the knee injury suffered by defender Wes Brown when he hobbled off in the first half following an awkward fall.

Midfielder Adam Johnson will again be in contention having come off the bench on Saturday following his club suspension being lifted after a Police investigation.

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