Sebastian Larsson has told the Daily Mirror that Dick Advocaat is demanding that his Sunderland squad play with passion over the remainder of the season.
Too often this campaign the Black Cats have been guilty of putting in insipid performances, but Advocaat will only accept full-commitment from those at his disposal.
Although the Dutchman has only been in charge at the Stadium of Light for a brief period of time, Larsson says that he has already got his message across to the Sunderland players.
“It’s difficult when you’ve got a short time to change things too drastically," Larsson said. "He’s come in and told us what he wants us to do and how he wants us to perform. He’s told us we’ve got to show that passion.”
Advocaat's desire for his Sunderland team to play with passion was certainly satisfied last weekend when his side beat Newcastle United.
The Wearsiders went into a crucial derby match knowing that only a win would be good enough, and they managed to get the three points thanks to a stunning strike from Jermain Defoe.
The squad's commitment to keeping Sunderland in the Premier League was on full display in the fixture, as the whole team played with an intensity that has been lacking on a number of occasions this term.
The win they picked up against Newcastle puts Advocaat's side three points above the drop zone and he will now be looking to make sure that his team do not let their standards slip, as they look to protect their advantage, and build on it, over the remainder of the season.