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OPINION: Advocaat Can't Be Absolved Of Blame For Sunderland Start

Dick Advocaat may well be part of the eventual solution at Sunderland, but right now he is part of the problem, writes Roker Report guest @safc1879_.

Tom Dulat/Getty Images

First of all, I will start by saying I don't claim to have as much football knowledge as Dick Advocaat and I never will. I also don't want him to be sacked, but I know that will be thrown my way. I have major concerns watching Sunderland this season; the whole team is disjointed, the manager isn't addressing the issues and we have had the worst start in the Premier League. Again.

People are pointing at the defence and the individual errors that are being made, and they're well in line for criticism as the performances have been a joke.

But it starts further forward for me; at Bournemouth there was another perfect example of it from Jeremain Lens. It's either lack of effort or instruction but either way it's shameful. The Bournemouth full back picked up the ball and Lens just dawdled his way towards him before letting him jog past. He stood still and the full back went on to create a two-on-one situation against Patrick van Aanholt.

Now, I think Lens is a very talented player but his work-rate and attitude just don't cut the mustard for me. We can't drop him but Advocaat MUST find a system where he can play his game. We are a lower premier league team and can't afford to have him leaving us high and dry defensively. Van Aanholt is a poor player but this just exacerbates the problem.

It's no surprise we were better defensively and picked up points when we had Defoe and Wickham working their nuts off defensively, but that just isn't sustainable.  Every time the opposition receive the ball, they seem to be running at the defence, which is incredible and criminal for this level of the game.

Advocaat appears to have abolished the ‘Cattermole position' in front of the back four and there's just no cover whatsoever. Last week against Spurs, I couldn't believe what I saw from Advocaat; in a game where we looked tight and dangerous in the first half, he then decided to switch Lens and Fabio Borini at half time.

I imagine it was to give them something to think about but once again it resulted in Van Aanholt being exposed, and when Andros Townsend came on he created numerous chances. To my amazement, Advocaat was stood on the touchline throughout the second half and didn't switch the wide men back over.

We all knew in summer 2014 that the defence would need an overhaul this year and we came up with no left back, Adam Matthews who was not playing at a decent level, Sebastian Coates who didn't get a game until about March last season, Younes Kaboul who has an awful injury record, and we gave Wes Brown a new contract. Where is Brown anyway? Waste of time and resources seemingly.

The midfield isn't much better. Jordi Gomez and Ola Toivonen in a midfield away from home just simply isn't going to cut the mustard. Two immobile players against a team of Bournemouth's style was pathetic - do we even bother to approach the game with the plan?

I'm not having the ‘missed this chance, played well for x' argument either. Any team can play well when the game is finished and the other team take their foot off the gas.  How many games this season has Advocaat sent a team out and it's been flat as a fart? Game over within 20 minutes? Whatever he is saying to them pre-match isn't working. There's no urgency, or tempo and the discipline has gone right out the window (tactically and giving stupid fouls away).

The players aren't fit either, some look like they're carrying a bit extra weight and others just blowing out after 45 minutes. It includes players who have been here all pre-season, where admittedly we spent half the time in the air... But who's bright idea was this schedule? I'm guessing it's not Advocaat's but still, the preparation for the season and even games themselves have been northing short of a calamity.

I said after Leicester we wouldn't win a game until Advocaat addresses the system and I still feel that way. We cant afford to leave the full backs we have so exposed, no lower half Premier League team can.

I genuinely can't see what Advocaat is trying to do; we don't have time to let things gel any longer without getting results, and the fixture list is about to get a lot worse. It's time for the manager to start getting the best out of this squad because, although it is poor, I would rather have it than the squads at Bournemouth, Norwich, Leicester, Villa and probably even West Brom.

This squad should be capable of staying up with the attacking players we currently have, but he has to find a way where we defend as a team because he's currently failing - badly. After this start it's playing catch up already, the players still aren't fit, we don't have a way of playing and we have a measly two points.

I wouldn't be surprised to see a much changed team on Tuesday in the cup either. I personally don't think Advocaat will care much about the cup after this start. The criticism is usually levelled at Lee Congerton and the board recently and, while they are absolutely involved in the mess we are in, I can't look past the attitude of some players but mainly the manager, who for me is making mistakes week after week and it's costing us games.

We are playing well below what we are capable of and it just isn't good enough, I suspect he'll get plenty of time because of the high esteem in which the club hold him. With the start run of games we've had, the points total is a disgrace really. I may be over exaggerating but it was a great chance to get some confidence but it's been the opposite. There are zero positives for me.

I'm praying he finds a remedy...quickly.

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