Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Advocaat Has Mind on Black Cats, Anything Else Is Double Dutch to Him; Three Points the Focus - Not Red Devils Boss as His Side Prepare to Face Manchester United, Dick Advocaat Is Focused on Sunderland, Systems and Winning, Not Louis Van Gaal. Steve Brown Reports

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Advocaat Has Mind on Black Cats, Anything Else Is Double Dutch to Him; Three Points the Focus - Not Red Devils Boss as His Side Prepare to Face Manchester United, Dick Advocaat Is Focused on Sunderland, Systems and Winning, Not Louis Van Gaal. Steve Brown Reports

Article excerpt

ICK ADVOCAAT and Louis van Gaal go way back.

DToday, the former insists, is not about that, or them.

It is about Sunderland finding an identity, a system. Victory, hopefully. Hope, in fact.

The Black Cats are bottom of the Premier League, and without a win within it. For three seasons now, they have failed to secure three points from any of their first six top-flight games.

Though Advocaat has detected positives lately, namely against AFC Bournemouth, Manchester City (in the Capital One Cup) and Tottenham Hotspur, and Aston Villa and Swansea City before that, they have nestled quietly among the shambles.

Too many goals too easily conceded, not enough scored.

And, still, he seeks his side's best team, their most appropriate and effective formation. A 4-3-3 man, he has toyed with 4-2-3-1 and admits a "different approach" may yet be required.

All this, then, explains why Advocaat believes his job, the task of again sparing the Wearsiders from relegation, is "more diffi-cult" than Van Gaal's brief to win the title.

Yet still he remains unworried but, then, what is the alternative? Sunderland travel to Old Trafford with Manchester United second and Van Gaal, in Advocaat's eyes among the world's best coaches, boasting an "unbelievable" record though notably, only one win over his fellow Dutchman's teams in nine meetings (Advocaat has three). They >Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal (left) and main picture right, fellow Dutchman and Sunderland head coach Dick Advocaat have played together at Sparta Rotterdam.

They have coached the same clubs and country. Gone head to head.

Even posed whilst respectively in charge of PSV Eindhoven and Ajax with models naked but for underwear and a lick of paint.

But today is not about that, or them.

For Sunderland, it must be about finding themselves, finding a win and some hope.

"It's not about Louis and myself," said Advocaat.

"It is about Sunderland and Manchester United. We are sitting on the bench and we are trying to help the teams."

Help them find a way, a way to win.

"I am a believer in 4-3-3 because everyone understands that it is simple and easy," he said. …

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