Dick Advocaat highlights two key areas Sunderland still need to improve

Sunderland boss Advocaat wants to see improved fitness and finishing.

The Black Cats once again failed to register their first win of the season at the weekend, and Dick Advocaat has admitted to the Northern Echo that there are two areas his players still need to improve - fitness and finishing.

The Dutch boss said: “At the end you could see that for 90 minutes there are some players out of physical shape. But you can only get the fitness back if you play and that’s what we learned today. Then we had those chances. The pass from Jeremain Lens to Jermain Defoe would have given us a lift as well had that gone in. Tottenham did not outplay us, and they have for the last few games outplayed teams, including Manchester United.”

Sunderland were certainly the more dominant team on Sunday, but they still fell to defeat to Spurs thanks to a late Ryan Mason goal.

It was this diminishing fitness as the game drew to a close which allowed Spurs to gain the upper hand at the Stadium of Light, whilst a selection of poor misses earlier in the tie cost the Black Cats any chance of victory.

Jermain Defoe was especially to blame for the wasted chances, with his profligacy in front of goal preventing Advocaat’s men from taking the lead in the first half.

He hit the post from a one-on-one chance he really should have scored from, whilst his movement in the Spurs penalty area created another great chance, which he could only place straight at Hugo Lloris.

Having wasted their chances early in the game, Sunderland then fell behind to Mason’s strike, and they had no time to get back into the game.

The performance level may have been improved from the opening weeks of the campaign, but until the Black Cats hit the back of the net, and can see out a full 90 minutes at top form, they will struggle to pick up points.

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