“We still have everything in our own hands,” the Dutch boss said. “Newcastle are a bit closer now. They have to win their games now, otherwise it will be very difficult for them. I think it will be exciting until the last game maybe.”
Sunderland face a tough title run in on paper, although they have the advantage of four games left to play, whilst all their relegation rivals have just three. Admittedly, that fourth is a game in hand against Arsenal, but if the Black Cats win all of their remaining ties they are safe in the Premier League.
The Wearside club sit just one point below Hull and Leicester, and two behind Newcastle and Aston Villa, and with their North Eastern rivals collapsing at every available opportunity, there is a great chance that Advocaat will lead them to safety.
The knowledge that survival is in their own hands is sure to be a great motivator for every Sunderland player, as they know that they can only rely on themselves. Victory in all of their games assures them of a place in the Premier League next season, and that must be enough to convince the players to give their all.
They proved in the victory over Southampton on Saturday that they have the quality to overcome even the stronger Premier League teams, and Advocaat has given an admission which should do much for raising the spirits of his Sunderland players.