Sunderland’s squad had a date with a DVD in the comfy seats at the Academy of Light yesterday afternoon.
It was inevitable that there would be a video nasty after the manner of Sunderland’s pathetically poor performance at Leicester on the opening day.
If we think we can do it like the way we did last Saturday, then we have no chance at allDick Advocaat
There was plenty to wince over as Dick Advocaat went back over the key points of the game with his squad, albeit they watched a condensed version of the 4-2 defeat, rather than the whole 90 minutes.
Perhaps that was to prevent the players’ concentration from waning. Perhaps it was simply to avoid them feeling too glum just one game into the season.
But Advocaat was shocked by the manner of Sunderland’s capitulation at the King Power Stadium after seeing how his players had fought to keep the club in the Premier League during his nine-game tenure at the end of last season.
And after issuing his players with a dressing room rollicking both during and after the encounter at Leicester, Advocaat has made it crystal clear that he will not accept such a humiliating drop in standards again.
“It was a game that I didn’t expect,” he said.
“You can always lose a game, but not the way we lost.
“The players have to realise that we are a team that has to fight, and that was the strength of our team last season over the nine games.
“Everybody was involved, winning the duels, the passion, the aggression.
“All of that was not there at Leicester.
“If we think we can do it like the way we did last Saturday, then we have no chance at all. That’s what I’ve told them.”
Sunderland had sold out their allocation of 3,200 tickets in the away end a fortnight before the season got underway.
Yet those decked in red and white at the King Power witnessed a collapse which became all-too-familiar last year, when Sunderland were routed by Southampton, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa. Advocaat said: “Last Saturday, I really felt sorry for the fans. There were so many people that were there and if you saw our performance, we have to show them that we can do much better.
“We did it last season, not with great football, but we showed everyone that we wanted to win.”
The manner of the performance, coupled with the modest nature of Sunderland’s transfer business so far this summer, has created a glum mood among supporters this week and understandably so.
Clearly Sunderland still need at least another couple of quality additions before the end of the window, and Advocaat is well aware of that.
The sense of doom was not improved last night either after Sunderland confirmed that Adam Johnson is facing at least a couple of months on the sidelines with a dislocated shoulder.
But Advocaat believes that the situation does yet merit a code red sense of anguish, with the campaign just one game old.
“We have the same points as Arsenal (who lost against West Ham)” added Advocaat to the club website.
“It is only the first game, so there is no need to be panicking already.
“But we have to realise what went wrong against Leicester and correct it.”