Dick Advocaat sets points target for his Sunderland squad

Sunderland are in the thick of a Premier League relegation battle.

Dick Advocaat has told the Northern Echo that his Sunderland team will deserve to go down if they are unable to pick up another 'six or seven' points in their remaining fixtures.

Sunderland are currently one point above the relegation zone and Advocaat believes that the time for excuses is over.

He says that the Black Cats need to get back to playing to the standard they did against Newcastle United - a fixture which they won 1-0 - and he expects them to get to at least 36 points by the end of the campaign.

“Six or seven points must be possible otherwise we don’t deserve it,” said Advocaat. “It’s a big challenge because you come in to a squad that is not your squad. But we knew that.

“We knew what players we had and we were positive in the way the team has worked. If the players feel the same way as we feel then we will have a good feeling about the end. If you can do it against Newcastle then you can do it against anybody.”

Sunderland travel to Stoke City this weekend and will be fully aware of the importance of collecting three points from the fixture.

Stoke have little left to play for this season, so the Black Cats have the perfect opportunity to take advantage of any complacency that their hosts may have and ensure that they get the win.

To do so they will need to raise their performance levels, though, as Sunderland have been well off the pace of late.

The Black Cats’ heavy defeat to Crystal Palace in their most recent fixture has left the squad short of confidence and it will be important that they bounce back at the earliest opportunity if they are to start moving away from trouble.

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