DICK ADVOCAAT believes Sunderland can make home advantage count when they bid for a fifth successive derby triumph over Newcastle United.
Advocaat was unable to improve Sunderland’s position in the relegation dogfight after suffering defeat in his opening game at the helm at West Ham on Saturday, with the Black Cats still lingering a precarious point above the bottom three.
With eight games to go – the last two of which are away at Arsenal and Chelsea – time is running out for Sunderland to put sufficient points on the board and secure their Premier League existence.
But both of Advocaat’s two predecessors – Paolo Di Canio and Gus Poyet – have tasted derby victories in their second game in charge of Sunderland and duly given the club’s survival chances a much-needed shot in the arm.
Sunderland need that pattern to continue when Newcastle visit Wearside in a fortnight, with Advocaat hopeful that the Stadium of Light’s backing can see the Black Cats make it five-in-a-row against the Magpies.
“In a home game, in derbies, that gives you a big advantage normally,” said Advocaat.
“If we do what we done on Saturday tactically-wise, we will have a good chance.
“We did not create a lot of chances, but in a home game with our fans behind us, we can do much better definitely.
“For us every game is important because we need points.
“If the next game is Newcastle, then that makes that the most important one.
“I hope we’ll see more of my ideas coming across against Newcastle.”
Burnley’s defeat at Southampton earlier in the day ensured Sunderland avoided the fate of falling into the relegation zone for the first time this season.
But against a West Ham side, who were similarly struggling for confidence and form, Sunderland were still unable to record only a second Premier League victory of 2015.
And while there were positives to take from Upton Park, Advocaat knows the elusive win is all that matters for Sunderland at present, regardless of the manner in which it is attained.
He added: “The most important thing in the last eight games is to win. The way we do it is not important.
“If you win games in a very ugly way, I like that!
“If the need is there, we will play very negative.”