Manchester United legend Paul Scholes has written in The Independent that Dick Advocaat may not have the same effect on Sunderland as Tim Sherwood had on Aston Villa.
Former Tottenham Hotspur boss Sherwood was appointed the Villa manager last month, and he has given them a fighting chance of retaining their Premier League status for next season.
Villa have won their last two league matches and have also progressed to the semi-finals of the FA Cup at the expense of West Bromwich Albion.
Sunderland, who are also aiming to avoid the drop, have brought in Advocaat in place of Gus Poyet, who was sacked on Monday following last weekend’s 4-0 defeat to Aston Villa at the Stadium of Light.
Former United midfielder Scholes has now had his say on the Black Cats' decision.
“At 67, Dick Advocaat is facing a big challenge to keep Sunderland in the Premier League,” the 40-year-old wrote in The Independent. “Good luck to him but it feels a strange appointment to me.
“This is seven managers in just over six years for owner Ellis Short and this time Sunderland look like a dead team.
“With Aston Villa, you could see that Tim Sherwood had some pace to work with in that squad. Once he got something out of Gabby Agbonlahor, Christian Benteke and Scott Sinclair that team could be a threat. I struggle to see the same in Sunderland, other than with Adam Johnson.”
Scholes does have a point, but perhaps for the moment, the benefit of the doubt should be given to Advocaat.
The Dutchman has been working with the Sunderland players for less than a week, and maybe he should be given at least two games before he is judged.
The problem is that Sunderland cannot afford to lose their next two matches, which means that Advocaat and his players will have to do whatever it takes to get points.
Sunderland’s main priority at the moment is to survive in the Premier League. Performances do not matter, results do.