DICK ADVOCAAT has stressed to Sunderland’s beleaguered players the reality of life in the Championship after holding a team meeting today.
Advocaat has had three days working with his new charges after agreeing a short-term deal to take charge for the final nine games of the season earlier this week.
The vastly-experienced 67-year-old believes there is sufficient quality in Sunderland’s squad to beat the drop, despite the Black Cats teetering precariously just a point above the bottom three.
But Advocaat, who will begin his Sunderland reign at West Ham on Saturday night, has reinforced to the Black Cats squad the importance of remaining in the Premier League.
“You can’t throw everything in, but I have talked with some individuals and the team together. We had a team meeting today,” said Advocaat.
“Keeping this team in the league is the most important thing.
“As I said to the players, it’s quite simple. This is a big, big club – do you want to play in the other league?
“With this club, this stadium, you cannot play in the lower league. I think they realise how important it is.
“We have nine games to go and are still a point ahead, so we have everything in our own hands.
“There is enough quality in this squad to stay up.
“We have a difficult programme, as do the other teams, but it’s all up to us and I have a good feeling about it.”
Advocaat agreed to take charge of Sunderland for the remainder of the season late on Monday night after the former Holland manager was approached to succeed the sacked Gus Poyet.
Sunderland’s academy staff have helped to bring Advocaat up to speed with the players at his disposal during a series of meetings after training.
“So far everything is going the right way and it’s been a short week,” he told the club website.
“It started with the call from Lee (Congerton) on Monday, a late afternoon flight to have discussions and we stayed after that.
“We have already had a lot of talking with the players and the training sessions.”