Belfast Telegraph

Sunderland boss Dick Advocaat wary of Tottenham backlash

Sunderland boss Dick Advocaat has warned his side to beware a Tottenham backlash as both sides go in search of their respective first wins of the Barclays Premier League season at the Stadium of Light.

Maricio Pochettino's men have struggled to make an impression in the early stages of the new campaign with three frustrating draws following the narrow opening day defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford.

But Advocaat insists Spurs have proved to be vastly better than their results suggest - leaving his own side facing an uphill struggle to turn around their own nightmare start and move off the foot of the table.

Advocaat said: "Spurs are a very good side with very good individual players and I have seen interviews with some of their players saying they might only have three points but they have outplayed all their opponents - including United.

"For me that says enough about the self-confidence of the Spurs players. But we also need the three points so that makes it a very important game for both clubs and a very interesting one as well."

Despite conceding there is a danger his side could be cast adrift in the drop zone Advocaat insists he still needs time to figure out the best set-up for his side following a series of arrivals towards the end of the transfer window.

New faces such as Fabio Borini - expected to make his second debut on Sunday following an earlier loan spell, Dutchman Ola Toivonen and US international DeAndre Yedlin - placated Advocaat who was growing visibly frustrated with the lack of depth in his squad.

But Advocaat has stressed the importance of not expecting too much too soon from the new boys, particularly Borini who opted to take the opportunity to return to the Stadium of Light after failing to establish himself in Liverpool.

Advocaat added: "Everybody is talking only about Fabio but we have four or five other players (up front) and it is always about the total package - it is not just about the one player.

"Fabio did really well here when he arrived (before), but after that he didn't play for one year so you can't say he is ready because we don't know - he has only trained with the team for a week and he is already feeling the difference.

"We're happy with the players we brought in because they improve the squad and now we have to find the right balance. He (Borini) is in the squad so he has to be ready.

Advocaat is without Yedlin who is ineligible to face his parent club on Sunday, while Adam Matthews, Jordi Gomez and Adam Johnson remain longer-term absentees.


From Belfast Telegraph