The Black Cats fell to a 4-1 defeat to Crystal Palace at the weekend, throwing the club back into a relegation battle they thought they had left.
They remain just three points off the relegation places, and Connor Wickham’s late strike - nothing more than a consolation goal - was just their third in eight league fixtures.
Dick Advocaat was appointed following Gus Poyet’s dismissal to lead the club to safety, and that involved bringing more attacking potency to a side who were drawing far too many games.
With 14 ties to their name this term, the Black Cats somehow fell towards the bottom of the table without anyone realising, and what once looked like a solid philosophy has come back to haunt them.
Advocaat’s main aim was to start winning more games, and to do that he needed to lead the squad to more goals. The Wearside club now have 25 to their name in 32 games, just one more than lowest scorers Aston Villa.
Advocaat was aided in his task by the signing of Jermain Defoe, and he has made no illusions to his task by playing with three forwards. Steven Fletcher, Defoe and Connor Wickham have started all three games, but there is still no improvement in the final third.
Poyet drilled into his players that not conceding was vital, and that defensive work should be focused upon ahead of attacking work. This worked for the Uruguyan coach, as the lack of goals was made up for with the ability to not concede.
However, Advocaat has lost this defensive solidity in favour of goalscoring, but the attacking work is just not there. The forwards have been trained in Poyet’s methods, and his legacy is remaining - to negative connotations.
Serious work needs doing on the Black Cats squad if they are to have any chance of surviving, but it does not look like Advocaat will have the time to implement these changes, with Poyet’s influence still showing upon his former squad.