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Sunderland name former Dutch national coach Advocaat as manager

FOOTBALL By AFP | March 17th 2015
A file picture taken on June 6, 2012, shows football manager Dick Advocaat when he was manager of the Russian national team.

English Premier League strugglers Sunderland on Tuesday named former Dutch national coach Dick Advocaat as their new manager.

Sunderland quickly made the appointment after sacking Gus Poyet on Monday following a stinging 4-0 home defeat by Aston Villa. The 67-year-old was named as coach for the rest of the season in a club statement.

Sunderland chairman Ellis Short said: "Dick has an incredible CV and vast experience of managing at the very highest level. We have one aim only now -- to climb the table and everyone is fully focused on the task ahead of us."

Advocaat said: "Sunderland is a big club and I am very much looking forward to the challenge ahead. We must now concentrate on Saturday (away to West Ham United) as a priority and I can't wait to get started."

Sunderland's loss to Villa left them one point and one place above the relegation zone and they have won only once in their last 12 league outings.

Advocaat has never been relegated as a manager, but has only nine games in which to prevent Sunderland sliding into the Championship.

He boasts an impressive pedigree, having won league titles with PSV Eindhoven, Rangers and Zenit Saint Petersburg, with whom he also won the UEFA Cup and UEFA Super Cup in 2008.

He was appointed head coach of the Serbian national team last year, but stepped down just four months into a two-year contract last November after only three games in charge.

Advocaat will be joined at Sunderland by Zeljko Petrovic, his assistant coach with Serbia, as well as former Swansea City and England Under-20 goalkeeping coach Adrian Tucker.

Paul Bracewell, Sunderland's academy coach, will also provide support over the remaining games of the season.

Poyet, 47, spent 17 months in charge at the Stadium of Light, having joined the club in October 2013 following a four-year spell at Brighton and Hove Albion.

Last season he took Sunderland to the League Cup final, where they lost to Manchester City, and engineered an extraordinary escape from relegation in which they won four of their last five games.

But they have won only four games this season and face a battle to retain their top-flight status.

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