32-year-old Defoe has scored just two goals in 11 games since joining the Black Cats in January, although he should have added to that tally in the weekend’s loss to West Ham.
The forward is well regarded for his finishing ability, and that's why Gus Poyet moved for the former Spurs man, with goals in short supply at the Stadium of Light.
However, Poyet signed a player to score, but then failed to set up his team to Defoe’s strengths.
The Black Cats' 4-5-1 formation that Poyet had utilised all campaign was continued following Defoe’s arrival, and this meant that he had to lead the attacking line on his own. The ex-England international has never shown an ability to play such a role, and it was no surprise to see him struggle under the Uruguayan coach.
Since Dick Advocaat’s appointment, there has been a lot of talk concerning which system he would use. In his debut game against West Ham, the veteran Dutch boss lined up in a 4-3-3, with Steven Fletcher and Connor Wickham either side of Defoe.
Rather than trying to play with wingers, the presence of two strikers close together allowed Defoe to prosper, and he was unfortunate not to score.
It is this tactical switch to a narrow 4-3-3 that could allow Defoe to prosper, and he needs to if Sunderland intend to stay in the top flight. The forward will be given extra support by his strike partners, and with them doing a lot of the running work, Defoe can focus upon the act of goalscoring.
Advocaat may not be able to keep the Wearside club in the top flight, but his tactical change could be vital in restoring the Premier League career of Jermain Defoe.