Advocaat still confident of Sunderland survival

Sunderland boss Dick Advocaat remains confident that he can keep the club in the Premier League despite slipping into the bottom three after Saturday’s results, has reported.

The Wearsiders claimed a 1-1 draw at Stoke City, but wins for fellow strugglers Leicester City and Hull City were enough to push them back into the drop zone with just five games left to play; the last two of which are away to Arsenal and Chelsea.

It took less than a minute for Sunderland to edge in front at the Britannia Stadium, with Connor Wickham seizing on a handling error from goalkeeper Asmir Begovic to turn the ball in from close range. However, the majority of the first half was dominated by the hosts and they found an equaliser on 27 minutes when Charlie Adam found to top corner with a fierce strike.

The second period was a more even affair, but Sunderland had a couple of fine chances to register a priceless win, with Wickham and Billy Jones both denied by desperate challenges after going through on goal.

But neither side could find a winner, and after the game Advocaat was optimistic of the Black Cats’ survival prospects. He said: “I am pleased because I think [in] the first half we played very poor and we were lucky it stayed 1-1 at half-time, so I could change something in the line-up.

“From that moment on we started playing football a little bit, it was much better than the first half and we created three or four good opportunities, but those kind of chances at this level you have to score. This was a good point and we have to take it into the next game against Southampton – if we can give that commitment I am very positive about it [staying up].

“We have five games to go, everything is open. We will try to be positive to the team, and hopefully they can play like this next week.”

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