Advocaat is set to take on Newcastle in the Wear-Tyne derby after the international break, and he has told the Shields Gazette how losing an Old Firm derby has taught him to defeat the Magpies.
“I made a mistake in one of my first Celtic-Rangers games after I had taken over at Rangers,” the Dutch coach said. “They [the media] said ‘it’s a huge game’. I said we had 24 huge games, or however many it was.
“But afterwards I understood how important that game is there! We lost 1-5, but I said after that game that we will not do that again and we went on to become champions and win two cups that season.”
Having been defeated in such a humbling manner, Advocaat is clearly keen to ensure nothing the same happens again, and that should lead him to prepare for the Wear-Tyne derby in a different manner to that of a normal game.
Being played at the Stadium of Light, the tie will be nothing like a normal Premier League fixture, except for the need that the Black Cats have to win to fight off possible relegation to the Championship.
At home, the Sunderland fans will put increased pressure on their team to perform, and one would expect them to struggle if the game continues with a negative scoreline for too long. Advocaat needs to ensure that his squad start the game brightly, and lighten the atmosphere on Wearside, so the pressure is lifted early in the fixture.
If not, he could be on the end of another derby defeat, and while Newcastle’s poor form means it’s unlikely to be a humbling 5-1 thrashing, any defeat to your local rivals will be a dreadful occasion.