Billy Jones explains where Dick Advocaat wants Sunderland to improve

Jones believes that Advocaat is looking for a more fighting performance from Sunderland.

The Dutch coach will oversee his fourth game in charge of the Black Cats this weekend, and Jones has told the Chronicle that he is keen to see Sunderland’s work rate improve.

The full-back said: “I seem to get the feeling he was disappointed with our team work-rate from the Crystal Palace game. We didn’t defend as well from the front, win first and second balls, individual battles and get into people’s faces.

“It’s just the stuff which if you do more often than not you expect to win the game. He expects to see that come in the Stoke game.”

It was a surprise to see such a poor defensive performance by Sunderland in that 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Crystal Palace, having performed so admirably the previous week in the 1-0 victory over Newcastle.

That win over the local rivals showed a high pressing system, with three strikers deployed to attack from the front. Even Jermain Defoe, usually seen as no more than a poaching goalscorer, was showing a willingness to drop deep into the wide positions and hustle the Newcastle defence.

The Palace game was a big difference from this, and it is hard to see why. It could be suggested that the club were more willing to fight for victory over their local rivals, although that is not a good enough reason to then collapse against any other team.

Advocaat will be hoping his team put in a similar level of performance to that shown during the Newcastle victory, as they face Stoke this weekend, and the need to show a greater work rate and press from the front is evident.

If they do not put in this same level of performance, a relegation to the second tier at the end of this campaign would really come as no surprise.

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