Sunderland defender Billy Jones on Dick Advocaat's important tactical advice

Dick Advocaat is starting to put his stamp on Sunderland's team.

Sunderland defender Billy Jones has told the Shields Gazette of some important tactical advice that Dick Advocaat has given the team.

Advocaat took charge of Sunderland in March and he has made some tweaks to the system which Gus Poyet had put in place at the Stadium of Light.

The Dutch boss has been encouraging his full-backs to attack more freely and Jones says that the team have been working on their shape to make sure that their ambitious set-up does not leave them short at the back. 

"From the shape of the side, the manager emphasises the point that when the full-backs go forward, the midfielders have to recognise it and cover them,” he explained. 

“If they are the most advanced forward player out wide, they need support as well.

“That is being outlined before the game, so it does give you that opportunity for when it’s on your side, you have the chance to overlap or underlap and push back the opposition the other way.”

Under Poyet, Sunderland's side were expected to stick to their positions and the Uruguayan wasn't the most attacking of managers.

The Black Cats tended to try and play on the counter under Poyet's guidance and there was a lot of focus on keeping things tight at the back.

As a result, Sunderland struggled to pick up victories - and it has caused them to be the Premier League's draw specialists this season.

It seems that this defensive mentality could have backfired, with the side having not accumulated enough points to keep them above the bottom three.

Sunderland are currently one point away from safety and Advocaat is under pressure to find the winning formula soon. The 67-year-old clearly believes that the best way for Sunderland to do this is to play on the front foot and he will be hoping that his system helps his men pick up at least another two wins before the end of the season. 

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