Will Advocaat stay on with resurrected Sunderland?

ESCAPE ACT: Sunderland manager Advocaat celebrating at the end of the match after avoiding relegation. The Black Cats drew 0-0 with Arsenal.


    May 22, 2015

    Will Advocaat stay on with resurrected Sunderland?


    DICK Advocaat will decide if he wants to remain as Sunderland manager by next week, after the emotional Dutchman wept tears of joy following the 0-0 draw at Arsenal that secured his side's Premier League survival.

    His team gave an obdurate defensive display at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday to earn the point they needed to be certain of avoiding relegation.

    And the usually taciturn Black Cats boss responded by showing his softer side as he began to cry while celebrating with his players and fans at full-time.

    After masterminding such an impressive escape act at a club that looked doomed before his arrival on a short-term contract, the 67-year-old now has to decide if he wants to remain at the Stadium of Light next season.

    Bombarded by questions about his future following the Arsenal draw, he revealed that he plans to give an answer to owner Ellis Short once Sunday's season finale at champions Chelsea is out of the way.

    "I will give an answer on that next week. I'm sorry, I have to think about everything," Advocaat said. "If I stop, then it is my last job (before he retires)."

    Advocaat will rightly take the plaudits for resurrecting a team who were thrashed 8-0 at Southampton under his predecessor Gus Poyet earlier this season, and had lost 4-0 at home to struggling Aston Villa in the match before his appointment.

    Revitalised by Advocaat's level-headed leadership, Sunderland are unbeaten in their last five matches and have lost only two of their eight fixtures since the former Glasgow Rangers boss replaced the sacked Poyet.

    But Advocaat was keen to give all the credit to his players and staff for buying into his belief that survival was still possible.

    "It is not about me, it is about everyone involved: the owner, the people who work in the office and the players who believed from day one," said Advocaat, whose side are now four points clear of third-from-bottom Hull.

    "Nobody was expecting we would do it here against a great team, so to do it on our own gives me a special feeling."

    It was hard to tell from the subdued reaction from Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, but his side also had reason to be pleased after a draw that should guarantee they finish third and qualify for next season's Champions League group stage.

    The Gunners are three points clear of fourth-placed Manchester United with a significantly superior goal difference, but Wenger was more concerned with his players' lethargic finish as he looks ahead to the FA Cup final against Aston Villa on May 30.

    "You can say we dominated possession, but we lack a bit of sharpness at the moment in our movement and the way we prepare our chances," he said.

    "What is important now is we win on Sunday. We are in a strong position to finish in the top three and then win the Cup final. Let's do it."