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14 August 2015

Dick Advocaat: 'We have to do better'


Nickname: The Black Cats
Manager: Dick Advocaat
2014-15: 16th
Ground: The Stadium of Light
Fastest road route from Carrow Road: 252.5 miles (4 hours 34 minutes)

Sunderland manager Dick Advocaat wants his team to bounce back from an opening day defeat to Leicester City when Norwich City travel to the Stadium of Light on Saturday (3pm).

The 67-year-old took the helm on Wearside in March following the departure of Gus Poyet, and kept the Club in the top-flight before confirming his intention to retire from domestic management.

However, Advocaat performed a U-turn within a month to pen a fresh one-year deal with the Black Cats and continue his 'special experience' in England.

Speaking to the media in his pre-match press conference, Advocaat said: "We have to realise that we have a team who has to fight.

"That was our strength last year in the nine games; we won the duels and had passion that was not there against Leicester City. We showed last season we can do much better and on Saturday we have to show that we want to win.”

The Dutchman has a number of injury concerns ahead of this weekend's game, with winger Adam Johnson recently ruled out for the next two months with a serious should injury picked up in training.

Cultured midfielder Jordi Gomez is still struggling with a long-term knee problem, although Advocaat's options are boosted by the availability of new recruit Yann M'Vila - despite his red card against City in the corresponding Under-21s fixture last weekend.

Sunderland are also hopeful of a return to fitness for defender Wes Brown, and the veteran manager added: "There is no need to panic after just one game, and the important thing is everyone realised what went wrong.

"Norwich played really well last weekend but every game is important for us and we need to pick up a result. We have to show we can do much better.” 

Former England international Jermain Defoe proved an invaluable addition for Sunderland last term, netting four crucial Barclays Premier League goals after arriving from Toronto FC in January.

The 32-year-old forward notched his first for the Black Cats in a 2-0 win over relegation rivals Burnley in just his second league outing, before striking in a 1-1 draw with Swansea a week later.

After failing to score in Sunderland's next six games, Defoe then enjoyed arguably his most significant moment at the Club to date - hitting a stunning winner against Newcastle United in April's Tyne-Wear derby.

That victory marked a first league success since the opening month of 2015 for Sunderland, who would subsequently produce a somewhat familiar late league resurgence.

Defoe continued to play a pivotal part, scoring the second in an impressive 2-0 victory at Everton at the start of May as the Black Cats collected nine points from their final six matches to finish clear of the drop-zone.

With over 100 Premier League goals to his name, the one-time Charlton Athletic youth representative began the current campaign in typical fashion last weekend by registering a consolation in Sunderland's opening day defeat at Leicester City.

Sunderland endured a difficult start to their 2015-16 Barclays Premier League campaign, being beaten 4-2 at Leicester City's King Power Stadium last weekend.

The visitors found themselves 3-0 down within the first 25 minutes, as Jamie Vardy's opener was quickly followed up by a brace from Riyad Mahrez.

A change in formation saw Jermain Defoe pull a goal back for the Black Cats on the hour-mark, only for Marc Albrighton to quickly restore City's three-goal advantage.

Substitute Steven Fletcher added a further consolation for the outside with 20 minutes to play, but Advocaat's side were unable to reverse the damage of the first half as they fell to a convincing defeat.

Sunderland XI vs Leicester City: Pantilimon; Jones (Matthews, 64), Coates, Kaboul, van Aanholt; Cattermole (Fletcher, 30); Johnson, Larsson, Rodwell, Lens; Defoe. Subs not used: Mannone, Bridcutt, O'Shea, Graham, Giaccherini.

Goalkeepers: Costel Pantilimon, Jordan Pickford, Vito Mannone.

Defenders: Billy Jones, Patrick van Aanholt, Wes Brown, Adam Matthews, Younes Kaboul, John O'Shea, Sebastien Coates, Valentin Roberge.

Midfielders: Liam Bridcutt, Lee Cattermole, Sebastian Larsson, Jack Rodwell, Adam Johnson, Jordi Gomez, Jeremain Lens, Yann M'Vila, Emanuele Giaccherini, Will Buckley, Charis Mavrias.

Strikers: Jermain Defoe, Danny Graham, Steven Fletcher.

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