DICK Advocaat was equally critical of Sunderland’s first half display against Crystal Palace, despite being blown away in the second.
Sunderland produced a startling 14-minute collapse in the second half on Saturday, to leave head coach Advocaat stunned at the dramatic change in fortunes from the previous weekend’s euphoria in the Wear-Tyne derby.
But Advocaat was not any happier with Sunderland’s display in the opening 45 minutes – a scrappy, foul-laden period where both sides had struggled to create anything clear-cut.
Buoyed by victory over Newcastle, Advocaat was looking for Sunderland to take the initiative to in-form Palace and maintain the intensity from the derby.
Yet while Palace were not much better than the hosts, Sunderland failed to seriously test visiting keeper Julian Speroni – a deficiency not lost on Advocaat.
The ex-Holland manager said: “The first half was not what I expected after the game against Newcastle and the way we trained last week.
“We had looked very positive in training.
“We worked very hard in the first half, without creating chances. Football is about creating chances.
“The way we worked was OK, but not good enough. You could still see some challenges coming from Crystal Palace with the pace they have.
“I thought at half-time we could change something and be a bit sharper.
“I thought if we played a bit more together and got it up front a bit quicker, maybe we could damage them.
“But in 10 minutes, we gave the game away.”
It proved to be a day where Palace boss Alan Pardew was finally able to savour a victory over Sunderland after he had become the first Newcastle manager to lose four derbies in a row against the Black Cats.
Palace are now just a point adrift of the top 10 after a fourth win in five Premier League outings and Advocaat was full of praise for the in-form Eagles.
“They have so much pace up front,” added Advocaat.
“They’re a good side with the way they play. We’re not the first ones they’ve beaten - West Ham, Manchester City.
“We knew the way they played and I told the players that. We have to learn from that and have to go on.”